Are you a senior driver or do you have one in your family that you’ve been concerned about?
Senior drivers (drivers over the age of 65) often have lots of experience on the road and can offer a wealth of advice to younger drivers about how they’ve handled difficult driving situations. However, our motor skills and physical abilities become more limited as we age – it’s just a fact of life.
Many families struggle to decide whether their older loved ones are still fully functional behind the wheel, or whether driving habits should be monitored more closely over time. Here are a few driving safety precautions to keep in mind for senior drivers.
Senior License Requirements in Texas
Once Texas residents turn 79 years old, they have a few extra hoops to jump through in order to keep their licenses. Adults between ages 79 and 84 must renew their licenses in person, and their licenses expire after six years. The renewal fee for this age group is the normal fee of $25. Once Texans reach the age of 85, however, they must renew their licenses in person on their second birthday after the previous expiration date. Adults over 85 get a break on the fees and only have to pay $9 to renew in Texas.
DMV customer service reps are required to conduct a basic medical evaluation for adults over 79 who apply for a license, and everyone 79 and older must take a vision test. A driving test may be required if the DMV questions a senior’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.
Take a Refresher Course
One of the best ways to enhance your driving skills and keep up with the rules of the road is to take a driving course. American Safety Council offers online Defensive Driving courses, which for many states can also help you get tickets dismissed or lower your car insurance premiums. We also offer online Driver Education courses in many states, which cover essential driving topics such as traffic laws, driving in adverse conditions, car safety features, motor vehicle basics, accident avoidance, high-speed environments, and road rules.
Avoid Driving at Night
The average person’s vision begins to fade as early as their late-30s, so senior drivers face extra challenges after sunset. Seniors who experience worsening vision should avoid driving at night because eye fatigue and glare issues become even worse after dark.
Avoid Rush Hour Traffic
Avoiding rush hour traffic whenever possible is good advice for everyone, but even more so for senior drivers who may become stressed out and anxious with lots of cars on the road, weaving in and out of lanes. It’s a good idea to learn alternate routes if you’re not in a hurry, and plan to venture out between the hours of 11am and 2pm on weekdays and early in the morning on weekends.
Choose a User-Friendly Vehicle
Modern technology is making cars more high tech than ever before. Seniors who are wary of new technology may want to stick to car features that they are familiar with and that make sense to them. Choose an instrument panel that doesn’t bombard you with information irrelevant to safe driving. Automated dashboards and flashing LEDs may seem appealing, but your car should be free of distractions and technical frustrations that could take your eyes off the road.