Knowing when it's time to give up your driver's licence

Advanced driving directives

Advanced driving directives are to seniors as parent-teen driving contracts are to youth.

Both are aimed at keeping the driver out of trouble through an agreement to abide by a set of guidelines designed to keep everyone safe.

If we are lucky enough to live to an old age, and not suffer impairing health issues before then, we will all be faced with the decision to stop driving because we are no longer capable of driving safely. RoadSafetyBC says in general, we are living about 10 years past our ability to do that.

Planning ahead of time to retire from driving will make the transition easier and it will give you some control over the process.

A survey of older adults suggests about one-third of the group was comfortable with having a family member decide for them when to surrender their driver's licence. About 44% were open to having the decision made by their doctor.

Nearly two-thirds were willing to discuss the issue and an advanced driving directive or driver planning agreement can help provide a framework for that discussion.

I know through personal experience that initiating a conversation on driving ability can be a very awkward one. Who is brave enough to step forward and raise the issue with mom, dad or a good friend? Worse still, who gets to tell them that they should stop driving all together?

The directive allows the driver to designate the person they trust to do this with them. The aim of the directive is to support the driver in their quest to continue driving or stay mobile to maintain a degree of independence.

When this is no longer possible, the person designated is expected to address the issue with the driver.

Giving up something that you have enjoyed for most of your life can be very stressful, especially if you do not plan for it.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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