Giving Up Your Driver’s License
Every senior dreads the day they lose their independence by having to give up their driver’s license. The safety of the driver and the community may be at stake. However, it doesn’t have to be that hard. There are alternatives to driving to make the transition easier.
Reasons to give up a driver’s license
- Having issues seeing.
- Have prescription lenses? Make sure they are up to date before you make this decision. Consulting an optometrist about your vision is vital. If you don’t wear corrective lenses, they may encourage you to do so. An optometrist may also find other ocular issues, such as cataracts or glaucoma.
- Cannot see clearly at night, you may only need to restrict your driving to during the day.
- Having trouble focusing on the road. A doctor may recommend other alternatives such as prescriptions.
- Response Time
- Response time is delayed consistently for long enough to cause issues.
- Having issues hearing.
- Have a hearing aid? Get it checked to make sure it’s tuned correctly and the batteries are working well. If you don’t wear a hearing aid, you may consider looking into it.
- Visit a doctor about your hearing issues. Other alternatives, such as wax blockage may be the reason you are having hearing issues.
- Tremors or Limb Weakness
- Have tremors or weakness in your limbs. This may impair your ability to stop or control the car safely.
- Prescription Medication
- Take regular prescription medication that may impair your judgement, cause drowsiness or hallucinate.
- Visit a doctor. There may be medication alternatives.
Signs it’s time to let go
- Drifting into other lanes
- Unable to merge
- Increase in dents or dings in your vehicle
- Increase in traffic incidences
- Inability to properly judge how much space you need to brake
- Unable to see the lines in the road
- Increased fear
- Trouble pushing the gas or brakes
- Trouble turning the steering wheel
- Having more “close calls” than you did when you were younger
- Collisions with non-moving objects (sings, barriers, mailboxes, parked vehicles)
How to surrender your driver’s license
This can be done at your local DMV. However, you will need a State Issued ID for other purposes. Your local DMV Driver’s License division may require you to make an appointment.
Remember to have someone take you, as when you leave you shouldn’t drive as you no longer will have a valid license.
Benefits of Giving Up Your License
The obvious benefit to giving up your driver’s license is driver and community safety. However, many people don’t realize how much it actually cost to have a vehicle. When you’re on a fixed income after retirement, some welcome the much needed savings.
According to AAA’s 2015 Your Driving Costs study, an average vehicle driven up to 15,000 miles a year costs $8,398. This cost includes things such as fuel, tires, maintenance and repairs, taxes, license, registration fees, insurance premiums, depreciation, interest/financing.
Depending on your driving record, your vehicle size, how often you drive it, your costs can be higher than the average noted in the AAA study. The cost broken down is about $725 a month, what could you do with that extra money in your account?
So what can be done if driving is no longer an option?
- Public Transportation
- Buses. Every major and even most smaller cities have buses. Libraries and local city buildings usually carry schedules.
- Taxis. This is more readily available in larger cities. Smaller cities usually have taxi services, you just have to call for a pickup.
- Much like a taxi service, you have transportation at the palm of your hand with these apps for your smart phone.
- Most car rides are things down the street. Why not walk instead.
- This is a low cost option for anyone who needs to go out. Tricycle offer more stability than tradition bicycles and are usually free standing. Tricycles also can accommodate a larger basket size so you can take your pet with you or tote around groceries.
- Many cities offer a paratransit option. This means if you are unable to drive due to disability, you can get picked up and dropped off for a small fee. You will need to call your local transportation office to see if you qualify and set it up.
- Golf Carts
- Smaller towns or private communities often allow you to use golf carts or atvs to get around in town. The benefit to this is most of them drive at a much slower pace. Some states will require you to have a license whether you are on public or private roads, you should ask when you are at the DMV. Check with your local police or city for rules.
- Transportation Services
- Most counties area on aging and senior centers can recommend transportation services for specific needs. You can find their number online, most city offices will have this information as well.
-Written by Valerie Michel Buck