Safe driving habits are important for everyone; from first-time teenagers to more seasoned individuals behind the wheel, you can never be too careful on the road. However, senior drivers often have difficulties practicing defensive driving techniques. In fact, according to AAA, drivers approaching age 80 have approximately the same number of per-mile collisions that result in injury as do drivers younger than 25.
For many of these people, the rules of the road have changed markedly since when they first had the pleasure of cruising, and this can obviously cause a number of otherwise unsafe problems! Thankfully, there are a number of driving courses dedicated solely to helping this cohort get back on track, and ultimately give them the tools they need to drive defensively. Some older adults may not have been behind the wheel of a car for awhile for myriad reasons. These reasons range from illness to a change of location that may not have public transportation as readily available as other locales.
Whatever the reason your older loved one is making a return to sitting in the driver’s seat, or however long he or she has been a driver, it could not hurt to brush up on his or her defensive driving skills. This will give them confidence in their abilities to drive safely and put you at greater ease that they are safe.
If your loved one has recently re-entered the driving scene after a period of time away from the wheel, you probably have understandable concerns about their well-being on the road. Enrolling him or her in a driver safety program for seniors has multiple advantages, the most important of which is the peace of mind you will get knowing they have undergone and passed a course operated by a certified agency.
AARP offers a refresher course in driving for seniors known as the AARP Smart Driver Course. The course is offered to older adults as a result of a $12.6 million grant by Toyota to AARP to help bolster the driving skills of seniors in key areas. Experts determined that there are certain problem areas that older adults have with driving — including getting around roundabouts, running red lights, and more general safety issues such as using seat belts, turn signals, and slowing down when speeding. Seniors can find a class near them on the AARP website. All classes are taught by volunteers and successful completion helps earn seniors a break on their car insurance.
AARP isn’t the only organization that offers driver safety courses to older adults. For several decades, AAA has offered the RoadWise Driver course to seniors. This program in itself has been extremely beneficial in the reduction of motor vehicle accidents and deaths. Better yet, it has helped its participants save on their automotive insurance, too! There are currently about 30 states that provide significant policy rate discounts for these types of senior driving safety courses, so it definitely pays in multiple respects to check into them for your aging loved one.
Safety and Convenience
Most modern safe driving courses for seniors are made conveniently available via an in-class or online environment. Therefore, even if your loved one is currently unable to make the trip to a classroom training setting, they can still receive comprehensive training virtually, without having to worry about missing the valuable, worthwhile information taught by the safety course instructors.
It is this convenience that offers the much-needed peace of mind that seniors and their care providers are looking for. Given the fact that elderly drivers are statistically at a much higher risk of being involved in a serious collision than their younger counterparts, all except those aged under 25, the demand for accredited online senior driving safety courses is understandably high.
Perhaps more than anything else, the freedom that comes with the ability to drive independently and one’s own time is huge blessing and stress-reliever. Once your loved one has passed their senior driving safety course, the time burden of needing to transport them to and from their appointments and errands is gone. He or she will have full freedom to be on the open road once more, which should definitely put a smile on your face! Driver safety programs for seniors truly do help save lives, and that alone is reason enough to schedule an appointment!
Do you know anyone who has enrolled in a driver safety program? Maybe you have enrolled yourself! We would love for you to share your experiences with us in the comments below.