Do you or an older adult in your life want to remain independent? Is driving a concern? If so, there are many benefits of driving courses for seniors that can help sharpen driving skills—and keep everyone safe on the road.
Why are Driving Courses for Seniors a Good Idea?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), senior drivers are more likely than younger drivers to have angle crashes, merging or overtaking crashes, and intersection crashes. In 2017, the IIHS reported that 40 percent of multiple-vehicle crashes at intersections accounted involved drivers 80 years of age and older, compared with 20 percent for drivers ages 16 to 59.
Fortunately, organizations such as AAA and AARP, independent agencies, and insurance companies offer a variety of driving courses for seniors. These courses help keep older adults—and other drivers—safe on the road and offer impressive benefits. Let’s look at four ways driving courses help seniors.
1. Understand How Medications Impact Driving Capabilities
When you think of driving under the influence, alcohol is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Did you know that prescription medications could be just as dangerous?
In 2018, research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 50 percent of senior drivers take seven or more medications. At a closer look, an evaluation found that nearly 20 percent of senior drivers take medications that “have very limited therapeutic benefit, pose excess harm or both.”
Many experts have warned that these and other statistics show that seniors are overmedicated—a factor that could affect driving capabilities.
Most driving courses for older adults include information on prescription medications to help you understand you can take when you’re driving and what to avoid.
It’s important to talk to your doctor and read the information that comes with each prescription. Many medications—both prescription and over-the-counter—have special warnings about driving and using heavy machinery.
2. Refresh Your Understanding of Road Rules
A senior driving course provides a refresher on the rules of the road and other safety tips. Depending on your age and the state where you live, it may have been a while since your last driver’s license renewal.
A refresher driving course can help you understand the laws of your state and what you must do you renew your driver’s license. Common requirements include:
- Road Testing
- Vision Testing
- More Frequent Renewal
- Limited Renewal Options
3. Learn Vehicle Safety Features in Driving Courses for Seniors
When you first purchased your vehicle, the salesperson probably told you about the safety and comfort features. Unless you recently bought your vehicle, you may have forgotten about some of these features.
Plus, you might be unaware of some new safety features such as advanced driver assistance technologies. These include:
- Blind Spot Monitoring
- Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Systems
- Lane Keep Assistance
- Road Departure Migration
- Following Distance Monitors
- Speed Limit Recognition
- Forward Collision Monitoring
- Oncoming Collision Monitoring
- Driver Drowsiness Monitoring
A driver improvement course for seniors should provide an overview of both old and new vehicle safety features.
4. Receive a Discount on Vehicle Insurance
Many insurance companies offer senior policy discounts for completing a driver improvement course. Check with your insurance agent to see if you could qualify for a discount and if your insurance has specific requirements for the course.
Whether you sign up for a course through AAA, AARP, your insurance company, or another senior organization, you may have the choice to complete the class in-person or online. Unless you’re comfortable with online learning, it’s best to take an in-person senior driving course. You'll be able to talk with other seniors about their experiences. Plus, you can ask the driving instruction about your individual driving concerns.
From improving your driving skills to gaining the confidence and knowledge you need to renew your driver’s license, the benefits of driving courses for seniors make them a smart decision. Do you need assistance in finding a senior driving class near you? Talk to your insurance agent or visit the agency that administers driver’s licenses in your area.