When it comes to driving safely, most senior drivers wear seat belts, observe speed limits, and don’t drink and drive. Despite their safe driving habits, older drivers have higher rates of fatal crashes than any other group except young drivers based on miles driven, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
It’s important for experienced drivers to regularly take stock of their abilities. Seniors should consider changes in eyesight, hearing, reflexes, cognition and medical conditions that might affect their performance on the road. Older people are more susceptible to injury, no matter how cautious they are behind the wheel.
Here are a few resources to help older drivers assess their skills, improve their driving and stay up to date on the rules of the road:
- Evaluate your driving. AAA offers a printable self-rating tool to help identify driving strengths and weaknesses, along with suggestions for how to improve. Check with your local AAA club about in-person evaluations and driver training for seniors.
- Take a course. Refresher courses such as AAA’s Roadwise Driver may be beneficial for older drivers. These courses can explain new driving laws and new vehicle features, such as lane departure warning systems. They can also help seniors recognize vision, hearing and mobility limitations, and understand how to compensate for those limitations. Courses may be offered in classrooms or online and may result in an auto insurance discount.
- Make sure your car measures up. AAA’s CarFit program provides a 12-point check to make sure a vehicle’s interior features maximize comfort and safety for senior drivers. For example, adjusted mirrors can result in better visibility or tweaking the position of the steering wheel can improve the line of sight.
- Check your medications. Of drivers age 65 and older, 8 in 10 take medications on a regular basis. Roadwise Rx is a free tool developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that adults can use confidentially to find out how their prescriptions may impact their driving.
For more information, visit seniordriving.aaa.com,talk to a AAA Insurance agent or visit your local branch office.