How old is too old to drive?

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Statistics show that Americans typically live about seven to 10 years beyond their ability to drive safely and, for many seniors, it's difficult to know when to hand over the keys.

How old is too old to drive?

"There's really no answer to that question," AAA Arizona spokeswoman Michelle Donati said. "It's not a black and white issue."

According to Donati, the senior demographic is one of the safest on the road because seniors are less likely to speed and drive drunk, and more likely to follow the rules of the road and buckle up.

"However, the natural changes that do occur with age can have some adverse affects on one's driving abilities," she said.

Donati said warning signs that senior drivers should watch for include getting lost on routes regularly traveled, bumping into stationary objects, and being honked at by other drivers.

Seniors may also need to consider handing over the keys if their friends and family members have counseled them on the issue.

AAA advises seniors to be proactive instead of waiting for their family and friends to raise the topic.

"We want you to start the dialogue with your family," she said. "That's going to not only empower you as a driver, it's also going to help your family understand where you're coming from and help you."

Donati said resources are available for seniors who need help starting the dialogue with their families or are unsure of their ability to drive.

"We need to be able to to help the seniors in our lives, because we're all going to be there one day, transition to the next step," she said.