Helping Older Drivers Stay Safe: A Guide for Family & Friends

For many adults, driving represents independence and control over our lives – our ability to go where we want, when we want. Most of us need to use a car to get to work, and even if we’re  retired, we need a car to run errands and get around. Driving helps us stay connected with friends and the things we enjoy. It is especially important in suburban and rural areas, where there are few alternatives to the personal automobile for transportation.

For anyone who’s had the experience of temporarily being unable to drive, we know the disruption that not having access to our personal vehicle causes, for even a day. So it’s understandable that older adults find the prospect of not driving a difficult issue to face. The good news is that, with some planning and communication, cutting back or “retiring” from driving can be a gradual process that allows the older driver and their family and friends to make decisions and adjust to new circumstances together, rather than a sudden event that causes distress and isolation.

This guide will help you, as a family member or friend, know  when and how to get involved in an older person’s decision on whether they should modify their driving routine, or if it would be safer if they no longer drove. You’ll also find information on how PennDOT’s license evaluation and recall process works, and  additional resources to help refresh driver knowledge and skills.