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Improving Seniors' Driving Skills

Improving seniors' driving skills is more important today than at any other point in history, as more seniors share the roads with the rest of the population than ever before. The dangers that senior drivers can get into have brought on some serious efforts to come up with solutions, from self limits on driving to classes to help teach new skills. These different methods all work together to help seniors drive better and in a safer manner.

Self Limited Senior Driving

This has traditionally been an area that seniors have taken part in as they get older. Self limiting can take many different forms. One example is avoiding trips over a certain distance, which usually gets smaller over time, or avoiding driving after dark, and avoiding the need to use jumper cables where vision gets a lot tougher for all of us and not just the older ones. Some decide to avoid very busy streets and highways and take alternate routes even if it takes longer. And others stick to a list of only a few specific places they will drive to, like the doctor's office, church, and their children's homes.

Sometimes self limits come from diminishing physical attributes like sight, hearing, or manual dexterity. But sometimes they are based on cognitive impairments that just make it harder to go long distances or drive along complex routes. There are many different reasons why seniors might choose to self limit their driving, but any recognition of increased difficulty behind the wheel ought to come with decisions like these. Of course, just giving up or driving less are not the only options.

Senior Driving Improvement Classes

Classes that are designed especially for seniors and their needs have been developed in states all over the country. Many of them are sponsored by auto insurance companies in the interests of increasing driver safety and helping older motorists avoid injuries and claims expenses. Many times classes that are certified by auto insurance carriers qualify seniors that complete the course for a discount on their rates, an additional bonus making it worthwhile to attend. Defensive driving and learning how to give yourself more time to react to things out on the road are a few of the things that are typically covered. These ideas are practiced not only in senior driving skills but young driver protection as well.

State Level Senior Licensing Laws

No state places a limit on the age drivers are allowed to operate a vehicle, but some do require road tests for renewal for motorists over a certain age, and written or visual tests or proof of adequate medical condition are required in other states. The problem that states have run into in terms of establishing tougher standards for their older drivers is the fact that we all age differently. In other words, one driver might seriously start to decline in ability after the age of 65, for example, while another might keep driving perfectly well for many years beyond.

Of course, this is exactly why the improved senior drivers that still have the necessary skills should not fear any tests that they might have to take, while the seniors that should probably be thinking about hanging up the keys probably need those tests in order to really show them their own limitations. There is no absolute solution that works for every senior. What we all need to do as we get older is recognize our own limits. There are some things we can do as drivers to improve and maintain our skills, such as taking classes. And there are things we can do to limit risk, like not driving after dark. Improving seniors' driving skills is a very important thing to think about for motorists of all ages.


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