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When to Stop Driving

By age 50, some of us no longer feel comfortable driving on congested roads or we limit the hours we drive at night. Research shows that many older drivers begin to restrict their driving because they recognize situations where they no longer feel safe.  Knowing when to stop driving will help keep us and those we love safe.

Figuring out what skills we may need to improve on starts with knowing how well we drive.  Options available to assess driving skills as we age, include:

There are warning signs that become apparent when it may be necessary to limit or stop driving.  According to AARP, the following warning signs can indicate a problem that is beginning to affect someone’s driving abilities:

Poor Driving Skills
  • Not using turn signals correctly or not using them at all
  • Having trouble making turns
  • Having difficulty moving into or maintaining the correct lane of traffic
  • Having trouble judging the space between vehicles in traffic on highway entrance or exit ramps
  • Parking inappropriately
  • Hitting curbs when making right turns or backing up
  • Unpredictable stopping in traffic
  • Driving too slowly; other drivers often honk horns
  • Failing to stop at stop signs or stoplights
  • Failing to notice important activity on the side of the road
Undesirable Behaviors
  • Driving too fast or too slow for road conditions
  • Becoming more agitated or irritated when driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Not following doctor’s guidance
  • Evidence of warning signs
  • Getting scrapes or dents on car, garage or mailbox
  • Having frequent close calls
  • Being warned or ticketed for moving violations
  • Having multiple vehicle crashes
If you notice one or more of these warning signs, a driving assessment can be ordered by your medical provider to determine the skills and behaviors that may be corrected with rehabilitation.  For additional information about warning signs, see AARP’s Warning Signs​ webpage.

Research shows that, for many of us, the last ten years of our lives will be non-driving years.  Planning for those years will enable many of us to continue life on our own terms when we are no longer driving.
  • MyMobility Plan is a transportation planning tool offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  
  • Oregon DMV’s Travel Car-Free webpage contains a number of resources – including medical transportation for healthcare appointments and transportation options by city among others – that can be helpful in developing a plan for retirement from driving 
  • A Retirement from Driving Plan is also available from Oregon DMV.
  • When the time to quit driving arrives, DMV will issue a Quit Driving Identification Card at no additional charge to replace your license.  Complete the form, including marking the first checkbox, and bring it to any DMV Field Office to receive your Quit Driving Identification Card​.