Too old to drive


A friend’s uncle has had three car accidents in the span of two years. Though nobody died in those accidents (he hit the vehicles), my friend is wondering if it is because of old age that his reflexes and concentration aren’t as great as before.

I know that people have a hard time giving up driving as it makes life so much easier.

I would like to know, when is the right time to quit driving? Also, can anyone suggest how my friend can broach the subject to her uncle in a nice way?


My father in law got to the point where his driving was somewhat erratic. He liked to go out to eat and take others along with him. His young neice started giving him this line: “OK, let’s go, but only if I drive. Give me the keys!”

He got so accustomed to having her drive that his amount of driving went down to nearly none.


Originally Posted by JimG

My father in law got to the point where his driving was somewhat erratic. He liked to go out to eat and take others along with him. His young neice started giving him this line: “OK, let’s go, but only if I drive. Give me the keys!”

He got so accustomed to having her drive that his amount of driving went down to nearly none.

Thanks for this idea. I’ll suggest this to my friend. :slight_smile:

Driving a car is a habit that’s hard to break for anyone, especially as it is sometimes seen as a neccesity.

Her uncle is a proud, independent man. He has been driving a car most of his life and it will be hard to convince him to stop.

However, I think if someone else will do the driving for him, this will, hopefully, lessen the chance of another accident happening.


You could also suggest she call the local DMV/RMV (motor vehicle dept.) Oftentimes they have a test that someone can take to show whether or not the are safe. The condition of the test is that if you are deemed unsafe, your license is revoked. I’ve had to refer several people to that program here. And man are they NOT happy when they get back.

I’ve just simply stated you can’t see. You have cataracts/ legally blind/ heart conditions,/demetia etc. It’s not safe. Do you want to be responsible for killing a child, a mother, a father, a teenager or even someone’s beloved family pet because you aren’t safe on the road anymore? I then remind them that just because you can’t drive doesn’t mean there aren’t options. Family members, Councils on Aging, Public transportation, cabs etc can all do the same thing, and save a ton of money on insurance, gas, registration, upkeep, repairs, etc. Suddenly, there is a small silver lining in their otherwise dark cloud.


When my husbands grandmother drove the car through the laundry Mat stores plate glass window, we took her keys. She wanted her son to buy her another car as that one was totaled. He told her he would buy her a brand new car…but he was keeping the keys. (He lived in Canada…she lived in Arkansas.)

She took it pretty well. She was unflapable even though she could not see to drive. After she went through the plate glass window, and ended up between the washers and dryers, she unloaded her laundry from the car and loaded the machines. Then she called the police. (They got a chuckle out of that.) :smiley:

And when they asked for her drivers license…she didn’t bat an eye, when she told them she never had one to begin with. :whacky: Thank the Lord no one was injured and it was a small town…everyone knew and loved her.

My husbands father was a bit harder to convince. We finally just took his keys away. He was mad as all get out, but got over it.


I work in a driver’s licensing office. I’m surprised that he’s had three accidents and no one has requested a review of his driving abilities. This is usually done by the officer. They send a form to the state licensing bureau and then the driver is notified that they must complete a “review” or their license will be revoked. This “review” almost always includes a medical exam (to rule out any medical problems), a visual exam, and then if they get past those two, a written test and driving test. There are a few stubborn people out there, but many throw in the towel when they are faced with a review.

One thing that has been very effective is saying something like “Uncle John, you are such a good person. I’m sure you would be devastated if a child ran out in front of you and you weren’t able to stop in time. Let’s not take that chance. I’d be happy to drive you wherever you need to go.”

The difficulty with having an “age” cut-off is that our abilities are all so different. I know many people in their 70’s who I wouldn’t hestitate to ride with…you also couldn’t PAY me to ride with some 20 somethings.



Without naming which relative it is, I have one who, after an accident and a medical condition which legally forced her doctor to indicate to the state that she needed a re-test, had her license revoked. Her vision was fine, but her moderate dementia prevented her from passing part of the driver’s test. Mad does not start to describe her sentiments, but it is better than getting somebody killed.

In her case, though, the family had to put one of those anti-theft clubs on the car to keep her from driving it…she had keys to her vehicle hidden all over the place. Her memory got so bad that she didn’t remember that her license had been revoked, let alone why!

Age alone does not indicate whether a person is capable of driving. These things that may decline due to age-related medical decline do: eyesight, reflexes, reasoning ability, skill at risk assessment and the ability to pay attention to detail and multiple simulataneous stimuli. (Making it obvious why some people under 25 are also unfit to drive.)

The answer to the OPs question, though, depends on the circumstances surrounding those accidents. He might check with his state DMV to see if they have a policy that allows anonymous tips on drivers who might pose a hazard, but should also realize that revoking the license may not solve the problem. It also may cause problems, such as whether the man can own a car in his state when he can’t get insurance because he has no license. Convincing an older person, particularly a man over 65, to give up the keys is one thing. Getting him to give up the title to his car is a horse of a different color.

If the driving can be stopped without revoking the license, so much the better.

Also, some insurance companies will give older drivers a price break if they attend safety seminars such as “Fifty-five Alive.” My MIL went to one of these, and decided on her own to give up driving after dark and when road conditions might be hazardous. She plans her outings to avoid heavy traffic conditions, too. That is the best of both worlds.


Hello everyone!

Thanks for sharing your ideas with me.

I think driving is really hard to give up for anyone.

I suppose moving from **independence **(driving your own car at your own convenience) to **dependence ** (having someone else drive the car for you at other people’s convenience) will take a lot of getting use to.

I think its part of life and choices have to be done for good of the driver and the community.

I will suggest to my friend to research if there is a similar program in my country that re-test a driver’s ability to drive well.

Thank you again for your help. :slight_smile:


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