There are more U. S. residents over age 65 than ever before. It’s no wonder, with the baby boom generation finally reaching retirement age. The Insurance Information Institute says that the over 65 population grew from 35 million in 2000 to a whopping 49.2 million in 2016. Of those 49.2 million, over 40 million were licensed drivers.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety predicts that one of every 5 drivers will be over age 65 by 2030. All of this means that older drivers are going to have to keep their driving skills sharp as they age. We’re sure they’ll want to keep their licenses as long as possible to enjoy the freedom of the road.
But if you’re 65 or older, how do you know what to look out for as you change physically? We aren’t saying this age group shouldn’t drive, but like young drivers, there are certain characteristics of older drivers that could lead to unsafe driving.
We ran across an excellent guide for older drivers to quickly, and privately, assess their abilities. It’s the Drivers 65 Plus: Check Your Performance Self-Rating Tool. You can find it here and we highly suggest you take a little time and complete it at your convenience.
Some of the issues you will be asked to rate yourself on are:
- Do you signal and check to the rear when you change lanes?
- Do intersections bother you because there is so much to watch from all directions?
- Do you think you are slower than you used to be in reacting to dangerous driving situations?
- Do your thoughts wonder when you drive?
- Do traffic situations make you angry?
- Are you informed of current information about health and wellness habits?
- Have any of your children, other family members or friends expressed concern about your driving ability?
There are more, but you get the gist. And at the end, you end up with a weighted score. The thing is, no matter how you score, just taking the test makes you more aware of the elements of safe driving. And your strong and weak points when it comes to driver safety.
Remember, you take this test in private. No one else has to know how you did. So if you answered that your mind does wonder a bit when you drive, you can work on better concentration on the road. If you realize that busy intersections bother you, maybe you could figure out ways to avoid them next time you’re out.
We are convinced here at SZW Insurance that self-awareness is important to safe driving in older people. If you’re over 65, your body and mind are changing. Knowing what changes affect your driving allows you to compensate.
And to your benefit, there’s no reduction in your experience! For the most part, when it comes to driving a car, you’ve been there, done that.
We appreciate the fun and freedom of driving that our senior Central New Yorkers enjoy so much. We hope you’ll click on this short self-taking quiz to help you keep your future years on the road safe and sound.
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
PS In a future post, we’ll provide you tips on sharpening your driving skills.
SZW Insurance is your New Hartford area independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.