Recognizing the Signs

While most seniors are good drivers, physical changes occur naturally with age. These changes can affect the ability to drive safely.


Some of the signs that a senior driver needs assistance are that he or she:

  • Neglects to buckle up
  • Has difficulty working the pedals
  • Has difficulty merging on freeways or turning onto busy streets
  • Has trouble seeing other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians, especially at night
  • Ignores or “misses” stop signs and other traffic signals
  • Reacts slowly to sirens and flashing lights of emergency vehicles
  • Weaves, straddles lanes, drifts into other lanes or changes lanes without signaling
  • Gets lost or disoriented easily, even in familiar places
  • Has two or more traffic tickets, warnings, collisions or “near misses” in the past two years

If you’re concerned about a senior’s driving ability, take them through the GrandDriver safety questionnaire.

You can also suggest an appointment with a trained professional, who can evaluate driving skills. Following an evaluation, therapeutic intervention may be recommended and provided to improve driving skills.

There are a number of centers around the state that provide Comprehensive Driver Assessments to evaluate an individual’s driving ability and safety.

You might also suggest that he or she attend a CarFit event in your area, and work with a trained professional to complete the 12-point CarFit checklist.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles also offers driver improvement clinics that provide defensive driving techniques that can help you avoid and prevent crashes. These eight-hour classroom sessions are offered at sites around the state.

It’s not always easy to share concerns about safe driving with seniors. It’s natural for seniors—any just about anyone—to feel hurt or defensive when the topic comes up.

It’s important to remind them that safety is the number one priority, and that you have their best interests in mind.