When would you give up your driver's licence?

Whether you're the driver or the one convincing the driver to give up on their driving, the topic can be quite emotional.

Adèle Manseau | Desjardins Group

You'd probably answer "never." Actually, more than a quarter of Canadians would like to have a valid driver's license even after they turn 85.1

So, how far would you go to remain independent and be free to go as you please? It's a touchy subject but you need to take a step back to consider your security and the security of others. 

Whether you're the driver or the one convincing the driver to give up on their driving, the topic can be quite emotional. But like anything else, it's best to plan ahead before it's too late.

Here are four things to consider:

1- Age
Age! I guess it depends on whom you talk to. Your parents have aged well and you're hoping you got their good genes to continue to enjoy the freedom to drive. 

According to a study conducted in 2016,2 drivers aged 65 or older are more likely to be involved in crashes, particularly those aged 80 or older. This fact reminds us that seniors are fragile, thus more prone to injury. So they're less likely to survive a serious accident than younger drivers. 

2- Physical abilities
You'll be happy to know that your age is not the only thing that affects your physical abilities. However, it's undeniable that age plays a role as our abilities decline as we get older. 

For drivers age 65 or over, reaction time and mobility are two things that gradually decline. Not in your family? Well, you should know that other medical factors could also affect your driving skills, such as heart disease, visual loss and impairment due to prescription drugs.

Those changes sometimes occur so slowly over time that they're hard to detect. If you feel a difference in how comfortable you are behind the wheel or if you notice any changes to a senior family member's driving, it's safer to assess the situation and reduce the risk of an accident. Solutions can be as simple as avoiding driving at night or during peak hours. 

3- The events
According to the survey, 26% of Canadian seniors want to hold on to their driver's licence past the age of 85. 

What types of situation are likely to influence their decision? 
. 94% would consider renouncing it if recommended by a healthcare professional
. 27% if their relatives or friends are concerned for their safety
. 14% after a crash
. 4% after getting a ticket 

What about you? Regardless of why you had to stop driving, it's never an easy decision. For the longest time, you'd been independent without relying on anyone to drive you anywhere. It's a tough choice to make and chances are, someone else made that choice for you. But we'll all have to go through it someday. 

4- The discussion
There will likely be a heated, passionate discussion where you feel like you're walking on eggshells. The earlier you talk about it, the more solutions you'll come up with so you're able to drive for as long as possible and to ensure a smooth transition.
Among those surveyed, only 2% of seniors admit to have had this conversation with a loved one and only 33% said they discussed it with a senior family member. Among those who spoke with a senior family member about giving up their driver's licence, nearly 80% said they faced resistance from the family member.  

The results show that even though it takes time, the most important thing we can do is to provide adequate support to reduce the emotional impact of losing the independence and freedom that mark this stage of life.

Are you ready to talk about it with your family? 

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1 According to survey conducted by State Farm®
2 The Traffic Injury Research Foundation 

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