Worried about an elderly family member's driving?
The Federal Highway Administration found that in 2019, almost 30 million licensed drivers in the U.S. were aged 70 and older. With a growing population of baby boomers, the number of senior drivers is only expected to increase. Driving provides mobility, independence, and connection for older individuals with their loved ones and communities. It is crucial for seniors and their families to understand how older drivers can stay safe on the road, obtain the best car insurance, and know when it's time to hang up the keys.
Maintaining Safe Driving Habits
Ensuring safe driving habits is essential for all drivers, including seniors. While independence on the road is highly valued, age-related factors like reduced vision, impaired hearing, slower reflexes, and declining health conditions can affect driving ability. Aging can also lead to decreased strength, coordination, and flexibility, which can impact a driver's control over the vehicle. Conditions such as stiffening joints and weakening muscles, as well as arthritis, can further challenge braking, steering, and checking blind spots.
Helpful Tips for Safe Driving
Age should not automatically indicate a complete loss of driving ability. There are various strategies to continue driving safely, including adapting driving styles and addressing physical issues that may hinder safe driving.
Take charge of your health and well-being with these important tips for senior drivers:
Stay Sharp with Regular Eye Check-ups: Stay ahead of any vision issues that could impact your driving by scheduling annual eye and vision appointments. Keep your senses sharp and maintain safe driving practices.
Find the Perfect Ride: Make driving easier and more comfortable by choosing a vehicle with automatic transmission and power steering and brakes. Maintain your car by keeping windows and headlights clean, and schedule regular maintenance to ensure smooth operation.
Drive Defensively, Drive Safely: Give yourself enough space between cars to allow for safe braking. Stay alert, avoid distractions, and drive in accordance with traffic flow. Put your phone away and keep your focus on the road.
Know Your Limits: Stay confident behind the wheel by avoiding driving situations that make you uncomfortable. Drive during daylight hours, take alternate routes to avoid heavy traffic, and stay off the road in bad weather conditions.
Listen to Concerns: Pay attention if your family or friends express concerns about your driving abilities. Consider having a comprehensive driving evaluation performed by a professional or taking a refresher course to sharpen your skills. Consult with your doctor to ensure your safety on the road.
Defensive Driving Courses: Enhance your driving skills and boost your knowledge of road rules and hazards with defensive driving courses. Not only can they increase your confidence, but they may also help you save on auto insurance rates. As an AAA member, you can take advantage of a free senior driver improvement course, including an online version. AARP also offers a free Smart Driver Course for their members.
Stay safe, stay engaged, and enjoy your time on the road!
We have created a checklist to help you identify potential driving problems and to request that the person stop any dangerous driving behavior.
You can remain independent while keeping your loved ones safe with our Driving Assessment for Senior Family Members.
Click here to learn more!