Being a safe driver can become more and more challenging as you age. But in addition to the safety of yourself and others, practicing safe driving habits can also save you money on your car insurance.
Safe driving requires more than just mind road signs and the rules of the road. As you grow older, your reflexes can slow, and necessary actions like quickly moving your foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal can be challenging.
By following these guidelines, you’ll remain safe and independent behind the wheel for years to come.
Drive when you and the roads are in good condition.
Driving conditions can affect your safety as much as anything. Make sure that you feel comfortable and confident when you get in the car. Drive during daylight hours instead of night. Avoid rain or snowstorms, rush hour and other busy times when there are more cars on the road.
Beyond road conditions, make sure you are in the best state of mind. Don’t drive when you are angry or tired. And of course, never drive after drinking or other substances.
Schedule regular vision and hearing exams.
Your hearing and vision can decline as you age. Impaired hearing can be a concern for seniors by restricting their ability to hear approaching sirens or car horns. Common vision problems can include cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, making it difficult to operate a vehicle safely at night.
Consult your doctor about how often you need to take a vision or hearing test. If you have a concern about your hearing or vision, be proactive, and schedule an appointment. Problems can often be much easier to correct if caught early.
Keep yourself physically active.
Regular exercise and activity improve your overall strength and flexibility. Staying active can improve driver safety by making it much easier for you to turn the steering wheel, look over your shoulder, and make other crucial movements as you change lanes, back up, or are parking.
Try to include physical activity into your daily routine. Walking at least once a day, regular sitting and standing exercises, strength training, yoga, or stretching all can help make it easier to move while driving and getting in and out of the car. Just be sure to talk to your doctor before you start any new exercise routine.
Carefully manage your medications
When you are older, you may be taking several different medications. These medicines may include tranquilizers, pain, sleep, and cold medications, which can affect your ability to drive.
Be sure to read your medication labels. Understanding the side effects and how your medications react to one another is vital to safe driving. Don’t drive if you have taken a drug that causes dizziness or drowsiness. If you have any concerns, be sure to contact your doctor before you get behind the wheel.
Take a safe driving course.
Safe driving refresher courses are a great way to sharpen your driving skills while reducing your insurance premiums by as much as 15 percent. In many states, all you have to do is pass an approved driving class that aims to sharpen your driving skills.
Look for courses in your local community. The affordable courses will cover the road rules, safe-driving strategies, use of new technology, and information on the effects of health issues on your driving ability.
After passing the class, you will get a certificate that you can then provide to your insurer. The discount is usually good for three years, after which you will need to retake the class to extend the discounts.