When I got my driver’s license at 16, I remember a feeling of freedom. It would be a while before I owned a car, but now at least I had the opportunity to go where I wanted when I wanted. It’s a feeling you never want to give up — even when where you’re going is just to work, school, or the grocery store.
But there’s a responsibility that comes with driving: being safe on the road. Paying attention to traffic signals, other drivers, bike riders, and pedestrians is a necessity. So is not driving while under the influence of alcohol. And eventually, as you get older, you may have difficulty driving.
The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that there were 42 million licensed drivers age 65 or older in 2016, approximately 20% of all drivers in the U.S. Even if you’re nowhere near that age group yourself, you probably know someone who is an older driver — or you’re at risk from an elderly driver who’s not as good behind the wheel as he or she used to be.
How can you help people in your family and your community stay safe while still giving older drivers the opportunity to have the freedom to drive where they want, or at least where they need to? Some preparation before driving is key.
According to the National Institute on Aging, older drivers should:
The guidelines you follow to stay healthy apply to you while you’re driving also:
Our Hastings Mutual auto insurance specialists suggest taking a defensive driving course, with information on how to reduce distractions while driving, rules for driving in special situations like construction zones, and more. There are several defensive driving courses to choose from, in a classroom setting or online. I might take one — I haven’t been tested on my road-handling skills since I was 16!
If you’re interested, your independent insurance agent can help you find an approved defensive driving course. For more on vehicle coverage for you and your family, also ask your agent about Hastings Mutual personal auto insurance.
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