Deciding when it's time to hang up the keys for good is never an easy decision. But when driving puts you and others in danger, it's time to consider your options.
Paul Smith had his wake up call a few years back after suffering a stroke. He did some soul searching and tested his abilities behind the wheel.
"I got in the car and I went around the block. I drove and found out that I was okay. I was alert, but also there was a little slowness, too. Usually when you're driving, you see something, 'bam' and you react. I'm seeing something, doing a one count, and then reacting," said Smith.
Paul's self-awareness and sense of responsibility is rare.
"I renewed my license a couple days ago. My birthday was on Groundhog's Day. They check your eyesight. I didn't have to take a test, but they check your eyesight and you're set to go," Smith noted.
The renewal process is the same for everyone regardless of age. Writing tests and driving demonstrations are solely administered to first-time drivers. The only way your license can be called into question is through an evaluation referral. Those types of requests are typically filed by law enforcement agents after a traffic stop, doctors who notice a patient's health is deteriorating, or family members who are concerned with their loved one's abilities.
"My dad kept running off the road, and we finally had him move in with us, and we said, 'You're not driving anymore.' We took his license and everything else and that was it," Smith lamented.
Any driver of any age can be referred for evaluation, but sufficient evidence must be provided to the state. Evaluation referral forms are available at every branch office and online.
While they are anonymous, you must include the person in question's full name and address as well as your own in order to maintain the integrity of the process. Qualified referrals will be administered both written and road tests which can lead to restrictions such as only being allowed to drive within a certain radius of your home or during daylight hours or an all-out revocation.
"You've got to be able to see people coming up alongside you. And if you can't do that anymore, then you'd be like a deer...all you can do is look forward," Smith explained.
Paul knows he can't drive forever, and he has a measuring stick for his ability.
"Where I'm not a nuisance on the road, and hopefully I'll know that," Smith said.
Until then, he'll keep looking both ways with a little help from his wife.