Personal. Caring.

When is it time to hang up someone’s car keys?

There’s no denying that age takes its toll on everybody – and that means making adjustments over time. For a lot of people, one of the hardest adjustments they may have to make is putting down their car keys for good.

How do you tell if it’s time? Whether you’re contemplating your own situation or thinking about an older adult in your life, it’s never easy to make this call. Signs that an older driver may want to give up their car keys include the following.

Vision problems

Older adults may have trouble seeing signs or other vehicles on the road, which can make it difficult to drive safely. Night blindness is a common problem in folks over the age of 50, so an older driver may want to simply restrict their driving to daylight hours, at first.

Delayed reaction times

As people age, their reaction time may slow down, making it difficult to respond quickly to unexpected situations on the road. If a driver is starting to show signs that they’re processing information more slowly, it may be best to start relying on others for necessary travel.

Memory issues

Forgetting directions or getting lost while driving can be a sign of cognitive decline, which can affect driving ability. For a while, an older driver may do okay in familiar areas, but that won’t last forever.

Multiple traffic violations

Dents in the car that the driver doesn’t remember and a string of traffic tickets are all signs that someone’s skills as a driver are declining. These are definitely preludes to a serious accident, so that makes it important to look for other transportation options.

In this country, gaining your driver’s license and getting your first car is a veritable rite of passage to adulthood – and personal freedom. That makes it emotionally painful to even contemplate hanging up the car keys for good, even when it’s clearly time. Far too often, older adults delay the inevitable longer than they should, and that can lead to unfortunate accidents.

If you’ve been injured in a wreck with an older driver, find out more about what it takes to get fair compensation for your losses. And if you are an older adult and you don’t want to cause an injurious wreck, make sure to be intellectually honest about when it might be necessary to stop driving.


FindLaw Network

How Can We Help?