Knowing when to hang up their car keys is a big decision facing many Whanganui seniors.

Cars appearing from seemingly nowhere, running red traffic lights or missing give ways are some of the indications the time to stop driving may have arrived, Age Concern manager Tracy Lynn said.

But most are reluctant.

"It would be like having my arms chopped off," one senior driver who did not want to be identified said.


"My whole life would change if I couldn't drive. I may become more reclusive. Being able to drive means I can do what I want, when I want to do it."

According to Age Concern a moment's lapse could result in expensive repairs, a court case "and maybe even loss of life."

A forum on Wednesday aims to help seniors with that decision.

Hanging Up the Car Keys takes place at the Wanganui Masonic Centre in Dublin Street from 1.30pm - 3pm.

Police and Age Concern will talk about the issues around surrendering a driving license.

For instance, there may be other options, such as a road rules brush-up course provided free through Age Concern.

For those who do decide to stop driving the forum will discuss options around retaining independence and reducing the impact it has on their lives.

The NZTA says it can typically cost $3000 a year to own and run a car. That money would cover a lot of bus and taxi fares, which are subsidised for many seniors.

One big issue says Ms Lynn, is what people do for photo identification without their driving license.

"Especially if they don't have a passport. Getting photo ID becomes an issue."

She recommends seniors arrange photo identification before surrendering their driving license.

Wednesday's forum is free and open to the public.