Common effects of aging include declining visual acuity, heightened problems with glare, and loss of flexibility. These problems can be obvious or subtle, so Driver Licensing appreciates families and friends help in stopping or reducing their loved ones driving.
To address this growing public health issue, the South Dakota Driver Licensing Program is working with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) to implement the Grand Driver program to urge the public, particularly drivers age 65 plus and their adult children, to learn more about the effects of aging on one's ability to drive.
Please use these links to identify and address symptoms that may impair judgment and the ability of Aging drivers.
Do any of the following apply to you?
If any of the above apply to you, your safety may be at risk when you drive. Talk to your doctor about ways to improve your safety when you drive.
Visit your doctor regularly. Ask about tests and immunizations that are right for your age group.
Eat a healthy diet. Your diet should be low in fat and high in fiber.
Exercise to stay fit. Be active every day at your own level of comfort.
Do not use tobacco in any form. This means cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chew or snuff. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor.
Tip #2: Keep yourself safe.
Make your home a safe place.
Stay safe in the car.
Tip # 3: Take care of your emotional health.
Keep in touch with family and friends. It is important to maintain your social life!
Exercise your mind. Keep your mind active by reading books, doing crossword puzzles, and taking classes.
Stay involved. Join community activities or volunteer projects. Somebody needs what you can offer!
Keep a positive attitude!
Tip #4: Plan for your future.
Keep track of your money. Even if someone else is helping you manage your bank accounts and investments, stay informed.
Know your own health. This is important for receiving good medical care.
Make sure that your health care wishes are known to your family and doctors.
Create a transportation plan. If you do not drive, know how to get around.
Tip #1: Drive with care.
Tip #2: Take care of your car.
Tip #3: Know where you can find a ride.
How do you get around when your car is in the shop? If you do not know the answer to this question, it's time for you to put together a transportation plan.
A transportation plan is a list of all of the ways you can get around. Use this list when your car is in the shop or when you do not feel safe driving. Your transportation plan might include:
If you need help creating transportation plans, your doctor can get you started.
To learn how to drive more safely, try taking a class. In a driver safety class, the instructor teaches you skills you can use while driving. To find a class near you, call one of the following programs or click on the links below:
AARP Driver Safety Information
Click on the above link to find a Driver Safety Program in your area or call 1.888.OUR.AARP (1.888.687.2277)
AAA Roadwise Review for Seniors
Home-Based Tool to Help Seniors Drive Safer Longer.
South Dakota Safety Council
Defensive Driving Courses
These classes usually last several hours. They do not cost much and some are even free. As an added bonus, you might receive a discount on your auto insurance after taking one of these classes. Talk to your insurance company to see if it offers a discount.
For assessment of your driving skills, or if your license is cancelled due to a re-evaluation of your driving skills (and you wish to improve your driving), please contact one of the following organizations:
In Sioux Falls:
Catherine Pollard, Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist
Sioux Valley Hospital
Occupational Therapy Driver Evaluator
PO Box 5039
Sioux Falls, SD 57117
In Rapid City:
Alan Schulte, Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist
Rapid City Regional
Black Hills Rehabilitation Hospital
2908 5th Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
Melanie Anderson, Driving Rehabilitation Therapist
Avera St Luke's Hospital
305 South State Street
Aberdeen, SD 57401
As experienced drivers grow older, changes in their vision, attention, and physical abilities may cause them to drive less safely than they used to. Sometimes these changes happen so slowly the driver is not even aware their driving safety is at risk.
If you have questions about a loved one's driving safety, here is what you can do to help him or her to stay safe AND mobile.
Is your loved one a safe driver?
If you have the chance, go for a ride with your loved one. Look for the following warning signs in his or her driving:
Other signs of unsafe driving include:
Riding with or following this person every once in a while is one way to keep track of his or her driving ability. Another way is to talk to this person's spouse or friends.
If you are concerned about your loved one's driving skills, what can you do?
Help make plans for transportation. When your loved one is ready to talk about his or her driving safety, you can work together to create plans for future safety.
Encourage a visit to the doctor. The doctor can check your loved one's medical history, list of medicines, and current health to see if any of these may be affecting his or her driving safety. The doctor can also provide treatment to help improve driving safety.
Encourage your loved one to take a driving test. A driver rehabilitation specialist (DRS) can assess your loved one's driving safety through an office exam and driving test. The DRS can also teach special techniques or suggest special equipment to help him or her drive more safely. To find a DRS in your area, ask your doctor for a referral or contact the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists. DRS contact information is listed above. If a DRS is not available in your area, contact a local driving school or the Driver Licensing Program by calling 605.773.6883.
How to help when your loved one retires from driving.
At some point, your loved one may need to stop driving for his or her safety and the safety of others on the road. You and your loved one may come to this decision yourselves, or at the recommendation of the doctor, driver rehabilitation specialist, driving specialist, or the Driver Licensing Program. When someone close to you retires from driving, there are several things you can do to make this easier for him or her:
Create a transportation plan. It is often easier for people to give up driving if they have other ways to get around. Help your loved one create a list of tried and true ride options. This list can include:
If your loved one cannot go shopping, help him or her shop from home. Arrange for medicines and groceries to be delivered. Explore on-line ordering or subscribe to catalogs and shop from home. See which services make house calls. Local hairdressers or barbers may be able to stop by for a home visit.
Encourage social activities. Visits with friends, time spent at the senior center, and volunteer work are important for one's health and well-being. When creating a transportation plan, don't forget to include rides to social activities. It is especially important for your loved one to maintain social ties and keep their spirits high during this time of adjustment.
Be there for your loved one. Let your loved one know he or she has your support. Offer help willingly and be a good listener. This is an emotionally difficult time, and it is important to show you care.
Who does not drive?
If you do not drive, you are in good company. Many people stop driving because of the hassle and expense of auto insurance, car maintenance, and gasoline. Other people stop driving because they feel unsafe on the road. Some people never learned how to drive in the first place!
Although most Americans use their cars to get around, many people get by just fine without one. In this section, we suggest ways to get by without driving.
Where can you find a ride?
Here are some ways to get a ride. See which ones work best for you.
If you cannot go out to get something, have it come to you.
Many stores will deliver their products straight to your door.
Contact the following organizations if you need more help assessing your loved one's driving safety or creating a transportation plan.
American Automobile Association (AAA)
Foundation for Traffic Safety
Call the toll-free number or visit the website to order free booklets on how to help an older driver.
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
Drivers 55 Plus Self-Rating Form
Visit the web site to find safe driving tips, information on aging and driving, and details about 55 ALIVE Driver Safety Program - a classroom course for drivers age 50 and older. In this course, participants review driving skills and learn tips to help them drive more safely. Call the toll-free number or visit the website above to find a class in your loved one's area.
South Dakota Office of Adult Services & Aging
This agency can connect your loved one to services in the area, including ride programs, Meals-on-Wheels, home health services, and more.
Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED)
Call the toll-free number or visit the website to find a driver rehabilitation specialist in your loved one's area.
South Dakota Easter Seals
Easter Seals' Caregiver Transportation Toolkit includes a video, booklet, and list of helpful products and resources for family caregivers and volunteer drivers. To order the toolkit, call the number above or write to: Easter Seals National Headquarters, 230 Monroe Street, Suite 1800, Chicago, IL 60606.
National Association of Private Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM)
A geriatric care manager can help older persons and their families arrange long-term care, including transportation services. Call the phone number or visit the website above to find a geriatric care manager in your loved one's area.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
202.408.8600 or Search for Specific Area Online
A social worker can counsel your loved one, assess social and emotional needs, and assist in locating and coordinating transportation and community services. To find a qualified clinical social worker in your loved one's area, search the NASW Register of Clinical Social Workers.