Changes in driving ability don’t just happen overnight. There is no specific age at which a driver’s habits behind the wheel take a wrong turn – no pun intended. Over a period of time, changes in driving behavior could point to serious issues that have the potential of affecting your own – or a loved one’s – ability to drive safely.
Listed below are some warning signs that could signal it’s time to either improve your driving behavior or surrender your license permanently for your own safety, as well as that of other drivers on the road:
- Decreased confidence behind the wheel
- Difficulty turning to see when backing up
- Riding the brakes
- Near misses
- Delayed responses
- Easily distracted
- Other drivers often honk their horns
- Incorrect or absence of signaling
- Unable to keep your car in your own lane
- Getting lost in familiar places
- Accidents, scrapes or dents
- Failure to stop at red light or stop sign
- Confusing brake and gas pedals
- Difficulty navigating turns
- Stopping in traffic for no apparent reason
- Driving over or hitting curbs
- Traffic tickets or warnings
- Difficulty or inappropriate parking
If you notice any of these warning signs, you might consider starting a list and looking for a pattern, noting how frequently they occur.
Some of the listed driving behaviors are minor and can be overcome with driver safety training courses or improved physical fitness. More serious behaviors could signal that immediate action is necessary. You might choose to talk with your physician if you sense that vision problems or weakened reflexes are the culprit.
Driver improvement courses are available both locally and online (check with your local DMV branch office). Benefits of taking such a course would include being updated with the latest technology and up-tp-date driving techniques, as well as the possibility of a premium discount on your personal automobile policy. Check with your local independent insurance agent about the availability of a premium discount for having taken a driver safety course.
Still not convinced? Read what AAA has to say about the increased auto accident risks of older drivers:
“As a group, the oldest drivers are at a higher risk of having a serious collision per mile driven than any other age group except for those under age 25. Drivers in their late 70s have about the same number of injury-involved crashes per mile driven as drivers in their early 20s. And drivers age 85 and older are injured or killed in crashes at a higher rate than any other age group. This is due primarily to increased fragility that comes with age. Older adults are generally less able to withstand the forces of a crash, so they are more likely to become injured, compared with younger, stronger and fitter individuals. Older adults also don’t typically recover from injuries as quickly as they once did.”
If you’d like to rate your own effectiveness behind the wheel, take this quiz using a self-rating form provided by The American Automobile Association Foundation. Then call Lott & Gaylor Insurance for more information and a no-cost auto quote!