Talking with Older Adults About Driving


May 11, 2021
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In celebration of #OlderAmericansMonth, we are sharing things to consider when talking to an older driver.

Talking with an older person about their driving is often difficult. Most of us delay that talk until the person’s driving has become what we believe to be dangerous. At that point, conversations can be tense and awkward for everyone involved. But there are things you can say and do to make those conversations more productive and less tense.

Learning How to Understand and Influence Older Drivers? will help you support an older driver’s needs, as well as find community resources that can help put your older-driver plan into action. If you have decided to initiate a conversation with an older loved one about driving safely, take these three steps:

  1. Collect information;
  2. Develop a plan of action; and
  3. Follow through on the plan.

You might also want to consider learning how to adapt a motor vehicle to accommodate the unique needs of an older driver and discussing it with your loved one.

Decisions about a person’s ability to drive should never be based on age alone. However, changes in vision, physical fitness and reflexes may cause safety concerns. By accurately assessing age-related changes, you can adjust your driving habits to remain safe on the road or choose other kinds of transportation.

If you’ve noticed changes in your vision, physical fitness, attention, and ability to quickly react to sudden changes, it’s important to understand how these changes may be affecting your ability to drive safely. Driving Safely While Aging Gracefully is a resource developed by the USAA Educational Foundation, AARP and NHTSA to help you recognize warning signs and pick up useful tips on what you can do to remain a safe driver.  

One way to stay safe while driving is by making sure you understand how medical conditions can impact your ability to drive safely. Another way is by adapting your motor vehicle to make sure it fits you properly, as well as choosing appropriate features, installing and knowing how to use adaptive devices, and practicing good vehicle maintenance.


Some State departments of motor vehicles place restrictions on drivers once they reach a certain age. Find out whether your State defines “Older Drivers” at a certain age, and what that means for driver’s license renewal and restrictions, including tests. Download pdf: KEY PROVISIONS OF STATE LAWS PERTAINING TO DRIVER LICENSING REQUIREMENTS 


Reference: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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