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Tips for Older Drivers

As you know, it’s normal for your body to change as you age, especially in regards to your vision, hearing and motor skills. But because your body is changing, your driving strategy needs to change as well. That’s why we have put together a list of driving tactics that will help you stay safe on the road.

Drive Defensively

  • Leave enough room for the car in front of you. This will give you more time to stop if the other driver suddenly brakes.
  • Give yourself more time to brake. Start slowing down earlier for traffic lights and intersections.
  • Avoid distractions while driving. Don’t try to phone, text, or consult a map while driving. Intentionally focusing on the road will help you stay in your lane and go the proper speed.

Prioritize Safety

  • Wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts will reduce the risk of death in an accident by 45 percent and will cut the risk of serious injury in half1.
  • Don’t drive in bad weather.
  • Consider staying off the freeway to avoid speedy traffic.
  • Plan your route beforehand. This will help prevent you from getting lost.
  • Take an older driver safety course. An older driver safety course may help reduce your premium, but more importantly, can help hone your skills as your driving style changes with age.

Consider Your Limitations

  • Medication: Ask about how your medications affect your driving ability. If you are feeling lightheaded or drowsy, do not drive.
  • Eyes: Get regular eye exams every year or two to make sure your vision or prescription is sharp. If you do have glasses, make sure you always wear them when you drive. In general, avoid driving at sunrise or sunset when the sun will be in your direct line of vision. Likewise, cut back on night driving. This will help reduce your risk of an accident due to poor vision.
  • Hearing: Get your hearing checked once every three years. If you do get hearing aids, remember to wear them when you drive. Consider not playing music in the car so you can be more attentive to sounds like sirens or car horns.

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Keep Your Car Maintained

  • Get regular oil, fluid and tire checks.
  • Make sure you keep emergency equipment, first aid kit and a cell phone in your car.
  • When possible, drive a car with an automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes and large mirrors.

At National General Insurance, we believe senior drivers can still be safe drivers. Here are a few sites that offer excellent information on older driver safety:
For information about an older driver safety course near you, please call a National General Insurance representative at 1-800-462-2123.
 

 
1 Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2014). “Policy Impact: Seat Belts.” https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/seatbeltbrief/index.html