When To Hang Up the Keys

by Cynthia Germain

As we age, there is no doubt that our abilities undergo changes. One area where this becomes particularly noticeable is driving. Just like some great athletes know when it’s time to retire at the top of their game, knowing when to hang up the keys can be a critical decision for an older adult.

Consider Bart Starr, the iconic quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. He knew when it was time to step away from the game. Starr achieved great things during his career, including multiple Super Bowl victories, and his decision to retire came after battling injuries and recognizing the need to prioritize his health. Similarly, recognizing the signs that it’s time to retire from driving is crucial.

Here are some indicators to bear in mind:

  • Decreased Reaction Time: If you find yourself reacting slower to unexpected situations on the road, it might be time to reconsider your driving abilities.
  • Difficulty with Night Driving: If night vision becomes problematic, driving after dark can pose significant risks.
  • Increased Forgetfulness: Forgetting familiar routes or getting lost in familiar areas are signs of cognitive changes that can affect driving safety.
  • Health Issues: Physical conditions or medications that impair coordination or alertness can compromise driving abilities.
  • Near Misses or Accidents: Close calls or minor accidents may indicate that your driving skills are not as sharp as they once were.

Retiring from driving doesn’t mean losing independence. Like Bart Starr, who remained involved with the sport, taking on coaching roles and staying connected to the Packers organization, older adults can adopt strategies to remain independent while ensuring their safety and the safety of others on the road.

We have great choices for alternate transportation in Door County. Door 2 Door Rides is a shared ride taxi service that is open to anyone. These rides are available to all areas of Door, the schedule depending on the area, and very affordable, starting at just $2. Check out https://www.co.door.wi.gov/1049/Service-Areas-Hours-and-Rates.

Needing to travel after Door2Door’s hours or get farther than the county border, then check out Door-Tran. This awesome non-profit is dedicated to connecting people to transportation services that are affordable, available and accessible. They have a great network of volunteer drivers that is open to all Door residents and will help with determining transportation options and trip planning. Check them out at https://door-tran.org/.

It’s important to stay active and engaged in activities that keep you physically and mentally fit so knowing your options to remain independent is critical. Take the time to talk with family members and friends about your concerns as you explore alternative transportation, ensuring a smooth transition.

Drawing inspiration from Bart Starr, be honest with yourself, recognize the signs that it’s time to retire from driving and make plans to maintain independence, prioritizing safety and well-being.