It’s a sticking point for many older Americans — knowing when it’s time to turn over the keys to the car. For many, that’s the only thing that allows them to remain independent members of their communities.

Depending on where the senior citizen lives, not being able to drive might force them to leave their homes and move in with family members or even go to a nursing home.

It’s a tough call, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question. Some senior citizens remain sharp and agile well into their 80s, while others begin to decline physically and cognitively while still in their 60s. But there are some common red flags that researchers have determined can indicate a person’s driving days are over. They include:

  • Receiving two or more warnings or tickets in the past year for driving violations.
  • Having more than one accident or near-miss within the past two years.
  • Taking prescribed medication that can cause them to be sleepy or less alert, e.g., pain pills, sleeping tablets or over-the-counter medications that induce drowsiness.

Many senior drivers have minor fender-benders prior to a catastrophic accident that can not just claim their own lives but the lives of others on the road with them.

If you know or suspect that your driving skills aren’t up to par, do the right thing and stop driving. Those who get injured in collisions with elderly at-fault drivers may have to file claims for damages for their losses and injuries. In some cases where an auto insurance company drags its feet on a settlement, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in the Wisconsin civil courts in order to get relief.