As you get older, you're likely not going to use your car as much as you once did. Retirement might not equate to long commutes. And changes in your health restrict your ability road trips. Even when driving short distances, you might not be able to control your vehicle the way you once did.
Yet, even though many people cut back on driving as they get older, they don't get rid of the habit altogether. After all, most of us still need our vehicles to run errands and go about our lives.
Simply put, our cars offer us independence. Yet, as we get older, we realize we cannot take for granted.
As you enter the next stages of your life, consider how you can stay safe while driving less than you once did. This is a multi-tiered process that generally involves paying attention to both your vehicle and yourself.
Safety Tips For Older Drivers
As we age, our bodies undergo changes. We move a little slower, and see a little less clearly. As much as we hate to admit it, this requires us to slow down a bit. This includes taking a little extra care when getting behind the wheel.
Think about some of the ways aging might affect your ability to drive.
- Decreasing eyesight might make it hard to see other people, vehicles or obstacles on the road. This risk often becomes higher after nightfall.
- Lowered hearing might mean you react slowly to approaching sirens or hazardous noises. You might not notice strange sounds or alarm bells in your car, for example.
- Slower reflexes might mean you have less reaction time. You might need more time to speed up or apply the brakes. This means you'll have less time to avoid road hazards.
Given these increased risks, driving might become more and more dangerous as you age. This could lead to accidents and other property damage – not only to you and your car, but also to others. Therefore, you have to keep safety in mind. With planning, you might be able to avoid problems from occurring in the first place.
- Keep your car in good working order. Make sure it still receives regular maintenance, even if you don't drive it often. A car still faces wear and tear that might result from lack of use. Using your car gently doesn't exempt you from keeping it in good order when you do drive.
- Watch out for license restrictions. At times, your changing health might lead to restrictions on your license. For example, you might have to wear glasses while you drive. If you receive restrictions, follow them to the letter. You might face penalties from the police or DMV for ignoring these restrictions.
- Drive carefully at all times. No one will blame you for taking it a little bit slower. Do your best not to create unsafe situations with your driving. For example, if you don't feel you can see well while driving at night or in the rain, then it might be a good idea not to drive.
- Consider taking a safe driver course. These classes help experienced drivers brush up on their skills. If you take a safe driver class, you might be able to better learn how to respond to potentially dangerous situations.
Always know your own limitations. If you notice you encounter problems while you drive, take some time to think about might be causing them. If you need to seek extra help to manage the issue, this is often a good time to do so.
Insuring Yourself As You Get Older
Getting older might impact how you get and maintain car insurance. As you make life changes, take the time to pull out your policy. Then, call your Auto Insurance Discounters agent, and ask them if you need to make policy adjustments.
As you get older, your policy premiums might increase. This is because of the extra challenges you might have behind the wheel on account of your changing health. These challenges might lead to increased risks of car accidents and other problems. Therefore, there is a higher chance that you might have to file a car insurance claim. As a result, your insurer might raise your policy costs to cover their risk.
However, there are several ways that you can help keep your policy costs manageable.
- Ask if you can access additional discounts for your policy. These might include accident-free discounts, auto-payment discounts and more.
- Tell your insurer if you will drive less. Also keep in mind that taking a safe driving class could make your car insurance risks a little bit lower. For example, completing the AARP Safe Driving Course might result in lower premiums.
- Ask your agent how adjusting your coverage limits might impact your policy prices. For example, increasing your deductible might lower your overall premium. Nevertheless, don't make these adjustments to your policy unless you know you have the financial resources to cover higher out-of-pocket costs.
Getting older and driving go hand in hand. However, this means paying a little extra attention to the risks you face behind the wheel. Still, with attention to detail, you can keep yourself that much safer.
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