Everyone grows older, and it is something that we must accept. When you start aging, there may come a time when you qualify as a senior driver on the road. There will be changes to your driving abilities as your reflexes slow down. However, there are many ways you can ensure your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.
There will be warning signs you must watch out for as you get older, which will indicate when it is time for you to stop driving. Paying attention to these signs is imperative as they hold the key to ensuring you don’t get into unfortunate accidents and endanger other drivers in traffic. Therefore, we are sharing some of the best senior driving safety and insurance tips. Here’s what you should know:
Seniors Are Safer Drivers
Contrary to what many people believe, senior drivers, 55 years or older, are better at obeying speed limits, are more courteous to other drivers on the road, and follow all traffic rules and stops. Apart from that, seniors also tend to drive less on the road than others as they may have retired or don’t need to commute to work frequently.
In general, senior drivers are also more cautious when driving, which could be down to age-associated physical changes that affect their cognitive ability, eyesight, and hearing. For example, senior drivers are more likely to drive on back roads, so they avoid getting stuck in traffic on the main highway, and they may choose not to drive during rush-hour traffic.
Senior drivers are also less likely to drive in adverse weather conditions like during a snowstorm or thundershower or late at night when there is less visibility. All these factors are taken into account by insurance agencies that provide better terms and even offer discounts on auto insurance for senior drivers.
Senior Drivers Get Insurance Discounts
Senior drivers spend less time on the road and in their cars. At the same time, they exhibit safer driving behaviors, which is why most auto insurance companies offer discounts on insurance policies to drivers who are 55 and above. Some auto insurance discounts may be related to age, while others will be approved when the driver completes an accident prevention course designed for seniors.
For instance, senior drivers can take an online defensive driving course offered by the AAA. These courses help seniors polish their driving skills and give them the tools to compensate for impaired eyesight, slower reflexes, and impaired hearing. They are even taught to deal with aggressive drivers and never drive after taking a medication.
Apart from the safe driving programs and defensive driving courses, senior drivers can also take advantage of the CarFit program, which was sponsored by the American Occupational Therapy Association, the AARP, and AAA. It offers them a 12-point list to ensure that the interior features of a vehicle have been adjusted, which maximizes the safety and comfort of senior drivers.
For instance, the steering wheel position can be adjusted to enhance the line of vision, and the mirrors can be tweaked for enhanced visibility while driving. If you’re a senior driver or above the age of 55, you should talk with your insurance agent to offer you some suggestions for other courses or programs in your state that will help you qualify for senior driving discounts.
When Senior Drivers Should Give Up Driving
There will come a time in your life when you will be too old to do the things you loved doing. That is a challenging period to overcome for people who love their independence and don’t want to rely on others. However, as a senior, you must come to terms with the reality that at some point, you will need to stop driving as you will be at a higher risk of causing a severe accident.
There is also a high mortality rate for senior drivers in accidents because surviving a hard-impact collision is harder for them, even with all the safety features of modern vehicles. In general, senior drivers should stop driving when they no longer have the confidence to get behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, some seniors don’t want to give up even then, and they don’t realize that their declining health and impaired senses have impacted their driving ability adversely and will compromise other driver’s safety on the road.
That’s because, for most seniors, it is psychologically traumatic when they lose their independence and self-sufficiency. They don’t want to rely on someone else to get from one place to the other. So when the driving of an aging senior puts them or others at risk, it is up to the family members to intervene appropriately. Convincing senior drivers to give up their driving independence can be difficult, but it must be approached in a positive and supportive way.
There must be practical alternatives for transportation discussed, and the emotional aspect of this loss must be addressed appropriately with the senior.
Our Final Thoughts
There are plenty of aids available today that are designed for senior drivers on the road, and automobiles are coming out with newer technologies that have allowed seniors to drive on the road safely. Technologies like power brakes, automatic transmissions, cruise control, power steering, adaptive control, and others make it easier to drive for seniors.
However, before you take your car out, ensure that it is always in good running order and get it checked regularly by your mechanic. The headlights and windows should be clear and clean, and there are devices designed for senior drivers who have trouble seeing over the steering wheel or reaching the pedals.