When is it time to hang up the keys and stop driving?

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week takes a look at senior driver safety
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 8:34 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is a time out of the year that focuses on the oldest drivers in our communities.

“It’s about raising awareness of all the options seniors have in order to remain mobile in their communities after they decide to hang up the keys, but it’s also about keeping seniors mobile as long as possible,” explained Sam Cole with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

In 2020, seniors over the age of 65 accounted for 114 fatal crashes.

As we get older, our eyesight gets worse, our memory fades, and we might need to start talking medication that could affect our ability to drive safe.

“We tend to outlive our ability to drive by about 10 years. So, at some point you do need to give up the keys, you do need to stop driving, but it does need to be a family conversation,” said Cole.

For seniors who aren’t quite ready to hang up the keys, there are programs like CarFit where volunteers make sure everything is properly adjusted in your car.

There are also modified vehicle options that accommodate older drivers and driver assistance technologies with blind spot interventions and automatic breaking.

If you start to notice signs that you need to stop driving, pay attention to them.

“Some of the signs include close calls that you may be having, dents or scraps on your vehicle that you don’t know where they came from, trouble tracking down a lane as you drive down a road,” said Cole.

Other options for older people to get around after they quit driving include using public transportation, ride share apps, or calling on a family member from time to time.

Although it can be tough to stop driving, son’t wait until after an accident to make the decision.