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Here’s How to Make a Plan to Retire from Driving

The thought of giving up one’s drivers license can be very uncomfortable. The ability to drive means independence and convenience. If there are signs of cognitive decline or vision loss, however, it is time to retire from driving.
Credit: Jonathan Judmaier from Pixabay

Signs it is Time to Retire from Driving

According to the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), signs that driving has become unsafe include:

  • Inability to follow traffic signs or remain in the right lane
  • Forgetting directions and/or easily getting lost
  • Unexplained frequent vehicle damage
  • Decreased attention span and reaction times
  • An increase in being stopped by the police for traffic violations
  • Routinely hitting the gas pedal instead of the brakes and vice versa

Steps to Retiring from Driving

Retiring from driving is a process (unless your doctor has forbidden you from driving or your licence is revoked/not renewed). These steps can make the process easier.

Prepare mentally: This is a big lifestyle change and it may be on top of other changes such as dementia or limited physical mobility. It is okay to feel conflicted, sad or even angry. Book a few sessions with a mental health professional if you are having trouble letting go of your licence.

Set a date: This will push you to have your alternative transportation plans in place before you surrender you licence.

Talk to your family: Discuss your transportation needs and work with those that are willing and able to assist. Respect boundaries as not every family member can take time off school or work to help out. Ask about times they can and set a schedule (for example, errands every Wednesday with your daughter or weekend drop off to an activity centre with a friend).

Make a folder of public/private options: Print out, or make notes on your phone, a list of transportation options in your comfort zone: the city bus, Uber, cabs, Driving Miss Daisy, etc. Make a budget for each option and remember, some public transportation services have senior fares and the Alberta Seniors Benefit helps with living expenses, for those that qualify.

Do a trail run: Do a couple trial runs with your chosen alternate transportation method. You want to be comfortable with schedules, costs, apps and timing to make the final transition easier.

Explore: The bus, cab or private driver may take different routes than you are used to. Keep your eyes open for parks, shops and attractions that you have never seen before. Use this new phase to keep exploring your city and discovering places that bring you joy.

The Big Discussion

Sometimes the discussion of retiring from driving is led by concerned friends and family. It is not easy to hear your child tell you to stop driving. Remember that they are concerned for your well-being and for other drivers on the road. You, as a parent, had to tell your child difficult things for their well-being; try to maintain perspective. You can visit a healthcare professional and do a driving test to see if their claims have merit.

Plan Ahead to Make the Transition Easier and Keep Having Adventures

Retiring from driving can be a difficult transition but when you plan ahead and use this time to discover new places while someone else is behind the wheel, it can be a time of new adventures.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Airdrie Denture Centre for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more.
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