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

The thought of giving up your driver’s license can be very uncomfortable. Driving a car means independence and comfort. However, if there are signs of cognitive decline or vision loss, it’s time to retire from driving.

Signs it’s 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 stay in the right lane
  • Forgetting directions and/or getting lost easily
  • Unexplained frequent vehicle damage
  • Decreased attention span and reaction times
  • An increase in police stops for traffic violations
  • Regularly stepping on the gas pedal instead of the brake and vice versa

Steps to resign from driving

Giving up driving is a process (unless your doctor has forbidden you to drive or your driver’s license has been revoked/not renewed). These steps can simplify the process.

Prepare yourself mentally: This is a major lifestyle change and can come on top of other changes such as dementia or reduced physical mobility. It’s okay to feel contradictory, sad, or even angry. Book a few sessions with a psychologist if you’re having trouble turning in your license.

Set a date: This will urge you to create your alternative transportation plans before surrendering your driver’s license.

Talk to your family: Discuss your transportation needs and work with those who are willing and able to assist you. Respect boundaries, as not every family member can take time off from school or work to help. Ask about times when they are free and set a schedule (e.g., run errands with your daughter every Wednesday or go to an activity center with a friend on the weekends).

Create a folder with public/private options: Print out or jot down on your phone a list of transportation options in your comfort zone: city bus, Uber, taxis, Driving Miss Daisy, etc. Make a budget for each option, remembering that some public transportation has senior fares and the Alberta Seniors Benefit helps with living expenses for those who qualify.

Do a trail run: Do a few trial runs with your chosen alternative transportation method. You want to be familiar with schedules, costs, apps, and timing to ease the final transition.

Discover: The bus, taxi or private driver may take different routes than you are used to. Look out for parks, shops, and attractions you’ve never seen before. Use this new phase to further explore your city and discover places that bring you joy.

The big discussion

Sometimes the discussion about not driving is led by concerned friends and family. It’s not easy to hear your child telling you to stop driving. Remember that they are concerned for your well-being and for other road users. As a parent, you have had to say difficult things to your child for their well-being; try to keep track. You can see a doctor and take a driving test to see if his claims are valid.

Plan ahead to ease the transition and keep adventuring

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

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