When should seniors stop driving?

When should seniors stop driving?

While senior drivers usually have decades of driving experience under their belt, as they grow even older, they may also face a host of health challenges common to aging drivers. 

Because health issues can impact seniors’ ability to drive and make them a danger to themselves and others on the road, it is crucial to understand when senior drivers should hang up their keys. 

Even seniors in good health may face rising car insurance rates based on their age. Luckily, there are a few things senior drivers can do to prove to their insurers that they are still more than capable of driving, which can reduce insurance rates even when it comes to the correlation of car insurance and pacemakers

Common Senior Health Issues that Affect Driving 

There are a few health issues that are common amongst seniors, such as hearing loss or early-onset dementia. While not all of these health issues will immediately impact a driver’s ability, they can affect driving skills over time and make concerned families start looking at the benefits of nursing homes or rideshare options. 

Take a look at some of the most common issues to watch out for below”  

  • Hearing problems It is common for seniors to become hard of hearing. While this may not seem like a big deal when it comes to driving, when one can’t hear, it is harder to pick up on cues like sirens, honking, or a car passing. 
  • Sight problems Eye issues like glaucoma are common among seniors. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 50 percent of people with glaucoma aren’t even aware they have it. Because glaucoma impacts vision, seniors may find it difficult to see at night or out of their peripheral vision. 
  • Arthritis Severe arthritis can impact a driver’s reaction time. It is hard to quickly spin a wheel or slam on the brakes if a driver’s range of motion is limited and movement causes pain. In addition, while some people may be able to manage mild arthritis with mild painkillers such as CBD products or aspirin, severe arthritis may require painkillers that can cause drowsiness and have “do not drive while using” warnings on the label. 
  • Dementia Most people in the early stages of dementia aren’t aware they have it, and it’s easy to chalk things up to simple forgetfulness. However, once dementia starts affecting a driver’s ability to follow road rules, creates road rage, and results in getting lost even in familiar areas, it is past time to hang up the keys. 
  • Parkinson’s Because Parkinson’s causes muscle tremors and balance issues, it is not safe for senior drivers with Parkinson’s to drive unless they are in the very early stages and approved to operate a vehicle by their doctor. 

These are just some of the most common issues that you may see affecting senior drivers’ ability to drive. The best way to access whether an older driver is still capable of driving is to ride along with them and get a doctor’s assessment. 

Clear signs that it is time for senior drivers to stop driving are recent accidents or mishaps on the road, such as sideswiping a car or driving through a red light without noticing. 

Perhaps the best way to spot these signs is to also watch out for confusion at intersections, ignoring road signs, or other important details that show a senior driver is nearing the end of their driving career. 

How Senior Drivers Can Save on Car Insurance 

So what can senior drivers do to prove they are capable of driving and save on car insurance? 

Getting regular eye exams and physicals are the best way to make sure that senior drivers are more than capable of driving. Some states even require senior drivers over a certain age to provide proof of eye exams every year or two to get their licenses renewed. 

Remember, most drivers aren’t even aware of the onset of severe vision problems like glaucoma, so these eye exams help to ensure that everything is working correctly. Regular eye check ups can find early signs of problems before they become too serious.

If senior drivers do have issues with sight, it is wise to avoid nighttime driving if possible. Driving less and avoiding nighttime driving can also earn senior drivers a discount, so it’s a win-win situation. 

Besides keeping up with doctor appointments, senior drivers can also perfect their driving skills to save on car insurance. While it depends on the insurer, any driver who participates in a driving safety course or uses an insurer’s safe driving app can usually earn a hefty discount. 

This is especially true when it comes to senior drivers, as proving that they are still excellent drivers to their insurers can help to reduce senior rates. 

Senior drivers can also do the following to save on car insurance: 

  • Take advantage of discounts   Low-mileage discounts are easy for seniors to obtain. Most seniors drive less than the average person, which means they are at less risk of crashing than someone who drives to work every day. 
  • Buy a safer vehicle If senior drivers are having trouble with peripheral vision or other common issues, a car with backup cameras, lane departure warning, and a pedestrian alert will help lower rates and make it easier for seniors to be aware of dangers on the road. 
  • Get a new insurer If senior drivers are still safe to drive and have a good driving record but still have high rates, it might be time to find a different insurer who has better senior driver rates. 

Just because drivers are aging doesn’t mean they need to stop driving. However, it is important to watch out for common health issues that may turn a senior driver into a danger on the road. Annual health checks and eye exams can give senior drivers and their families peace of mind about driving and help seniors decide when it’s time to give up driving. 

And if you’re a senior driver that is still able to drive, make sure you take advantage of the different ways to save on your insurance rates.

 

 

Rachel Bodine is an insurance expert who writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceComparison.com.

 

Rachel Bodine is an insurance expert who writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceComparison.com

 

 

 

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