Older Drivers - What You Need To Consider
August 06, 2013 at 10:28 PM
As you start to get older, some of your skills will start to deteriorate. This does include your driving skill. Many other aspects will also deteriorate that will affect your driving, such as eyesight and coordination. But these are not the only things that you have to think about when you are driving at an older age. Below will detail the major considerations, and some helpful tips to keep you on the road safer for longer.
Risks Of Older Drivers
Before we talk about if you personally should be driving, we'll quickly go through why it is important to think about it. Many studies have been done about the risks different age groups pose on the road, and people above the age of 80 are the most dangerous, to themselves and others. This is because at this age your reaction time is far longer than when you were 20, and this makes it far harder to control your vehicle in an emergency situation. Also, retirees are less likely to regularly travel long distances, usually just driving to the shops or a friend's house. Because of this, you're less likely to be able to cope with long distances or high speed or heavy traffic. Another major problem is the fact that older people are generally quite frail, and will be far more at risk of serious injury or death in the case of a car crash.
What About You?
If you aren't sure if you should be driving, purely for physical reasons, visit your GP. They will be able to test you and refer you to specialists that can help you to determine what risk you pose on the road. Everyone ages differently; you could be 70 with poor motor skills, or 100 and still in great health. It's entirely up to your personal health, and your personal choice how you choose to move onwards. There are many things you can do to prolong your good health or improve it also; again ask your GP.
As you get older, the price of insurance will start to rise. Pensioners are seen as a risk on the road by insurance companies, and as such they will up their costs. While this is a good idea in writing, it can have devastating effects on elderly people. As such, it sadly has to become a consideration in whether to continue driving or not. There are ways to counteract this though if you do wish to stay on the road. If you feel your insurance is too high, consider reapplying. Do some research about insurance packages for over 65s. Get quotes from various companies to try and find the best deal to suit you.
If you worry your skills aren't quite 'up to scratch', consider taking a few driving lessons. There are many driving instruction companies that offer lessons aimed at improving your reaction time and how to manipulate your skills to match the modern roads. By participating in one of these courses, you can personally assess your safety on the road, and how to improve it. This option is probably the best one (apart from visiting your GP) for deciding if you should continue driving. Partaking in regular lessons will also help you to stay on the road for longer, so contact your local driving school and organize a lesson today.