Next to drivers under the age of 25, senior drivers are at the highest risk of having an accident. Many older drivers benefit from taking a driving safety course to boost their skills and confidence on the road, and these courses can also lower insurance premiums.
Why Senior Drivers are at Risk
As we get older, our reflexes slow, vision deteriorates, and we often have other health and physical limitations that affect our ability to drive safely. Seniors are also more likely to be injured in an accident than any other age group. In addition to these physical factors, many newer vehicles have technological features that some seniors struggle to use. Learning how to use and benefit from these technologies can help seniors to drive more safely.
What to Look for in a Senior Driver Course
Senior driving courses are available online and in-person at certain driver training facilities. Start by considering which of these learning methods is best for your situation.
Senior driving courses come in all types, but most offer information and driving tips specialized for seniors, and cover:
A review of basic safe driving practices
Managing road distractions
Road rage and other driving hazards
Medications and drowsiness
Managing vision and hearing loss
Physical comfort while in the car
Many courses also include a section on using current vehicle technologies, including safety features such as lane departure warning systems, adaptive cruise control, and wireless technologies.
Benefits of Taking a Senior Driver Course
Besides making you a safer and more confident driver, taking a senior driver course can also result in lowering your auto insurance costs. Auto insurers often provide discounts of up to 15% to senior drivers who have taken a driving safety course within the past three years. Talk to your insurance provider first to find out if they have any course requirements to qualify.
Other Tips for Safe Senior Driving
Besides taking a senior driving course, consider these additional tips for safe driving as you get older:
Get your vision and hearing tested regularly.
If you need them, use prescription driving glasses and hearing aids when you are behind the wheel.
Read and follow the directions on all medications you take and do not drive when taking medications labeled with warnings about drowsiness.
Only drive when you are feeling well, aren't tired, and when road conditions are safe.
Be especially careful when driving at night.
Do not use a cell phone or text message while driving. If you must make or answer a call, pull over to a safe location first.
Update your vehicle to a model that is easier for you to drive, for example, a car with newer safety features or greater seating comfort.
If you find you have difficulty driving, or if loved ones express concern about your safety on the road, talk to your doctor about whether it is time to stop driving. Consider using a taxi, Uber or Lyft, taking a form of public transportation, or having someone else drive you.