Just as we make plans to retire from work—possibly transitioning from full-time to part-time employment before full retirement—it is important to look ahead to retiring from driving. In fact, many seniors choose to limit their driving as they encounter physical and cognitive changes. For instance, they may decide to drive only in daylight when vision impairment makes night-time driving difficult. Or they may decide to drive only in town when high-traffic situations become stressful.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported in a recent study that more seniors are self-limiting their driving and surmises that this could account in part for another finding: Fewer drivers 70 and older died in crashes and fewer were involved in fatal collisions from 1997 through 2006 than in years past, even though this segment of the population grew 10 percent.
It is essential that family and friends of a senior approach with compassion a discussion about driving —being sensitive to the senior’s need to maintain independence. Also approach the subject from a concern for the senior’s and others’ safety. Have you discussed retiring from driving with an elderly loved one recently? Feel free to comment and let us know how the conversation went.