As we age, it’s natural to have concerns about our ability to continue driving safely.
Maybe you’ve noticed that it’s taking you a little longer to react to changing traffic conditions, or perhaps you’ve received a few too many “gentle reminders” from your passenger to speed up.
From physical functioning to vision impairments, it’s to everyone’s benefit for seniors to undergo a driving assessment to ensure their driving abilities are still up to par.
But don’t worry—a driving assessment is not designed to fail you. It’s simply an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you’re still capable of driving safely and responsibly.
But before you schedule your assessment, it’s important to consider a few key factors.
From understanding the purpose of the assessment to preparing for the test, here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to hit the road.
Clarify Your Eligibility
Different cities have different eligibility requirements for senior driving assessments.
For instance, In Australia, people aged 75 to 84 are requested to have yearly medical clearance from their doctor to continue driving. However, when an individual turns 85 and above, they’re required to have two yearly checkups to determine their driver’s license eligibility instead of one.
Through the results, the assessor will determine whether you’re eligible for an unrestricted license or a modified license, which will have different implications on the road.
As such, be sure that your doctor will deem you in shape and clear to drive. This is an essential step for you to apply for a renewal of your driver’s license test.
Know Your License Type
You’re probably already aware of the car license type you want to apply for, but it’s important to double-check and confirm the type of license you need.
This is because different types of licenses may require different testing frequencies and protocols.
In New South Wales, for instance, owning a multi-combination license requires you to undergo an assessment every year over the age of 70. A heavy vehicle license requires you to have an assessment every year at 80. And to have a class C or class R license, you’ll need two annual assessments over 85.
Brush Up on Car Knowledge
Even though you’re already well-versed in driving fundamentals, it’s always beneficial to have a refresher course to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.
Most senior driving assessments include both a written test and a behind-the-wheel test. The written test may cover topics such as traffic laws, road signs, and safe driving practices.
The behind-the-wheel test may involve driving in a variety of traffic conditions, such as on highways and in residential areas.
Practical techniques like perfecting parallel parking and turning at intersections could also be part of the driving test.
If you’re of sound mind and have no motor difficulties, you should have no problem passing the assessment.
Get Help From Family
If you’re feeling nervous about the assessment, you can consider counting on your closest friends and family members for help.
For instance, you can practice driving with a friend or family member and have them provide feedback on your driving before the day itself. They can point out your weaknesses and offer insights on how you can grow in those areas.
If they’ve taken the test in the past few months, they can also provide you with updated information on the way the assessments are currently being conducted, which can help you stay on top of things more readily.
Consider The Consequences
Depending on the outcome of your senior driving assessment, you may be required to take additional training or restrict your driving in some way, such as by only driving during daylight hours or avoiding certain types of roads.
Be prepared to make any necessary adjustments to your driving habits in order to continue driving safely.
Ensure Your Car’s in Top Shape
No matter your current fitness level, driving in an aged car can be hazardous.
To guarantee a smooth driving experience, be sure to have your car checked out before you begin travelling. Check for all the necessary parts, such as the emergency brake, headlamps, taillights, turn signals, and windshield wipers.
Furthermore, be sure to also check your tire pressure and tread, as these can affect your safety and traction.
As a cherry on top, feel confident on the road with NRMA insurance backing you. Car insurance helps you be free from racking up potentially high hospital and maintenance bills in case of any vehicular emergency.
Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly
If your vision is starting to deteriorate, you’ll need to get your eyes checked.
Vision is by far the most important sense in driving. Vision isn’t only limited to distance clarity, it’s also about seeing things clearly through various light levels.
Unfortunately, as we age, our eyesight tends to worsen. So keeping your sight clear can help you much more than you realize.
If you want to pass your assessment, it’s important to evaluate the state of your eyes to verify that you’re still fit to drive.
Pick a Senior-Friendly Vehicle
Your choice of vehicle can either be a boon or a hindrance.
While an older vehicle can help you save costs that might otherwise seem unnecessary, you will be missing out on many features that can vastly improve your quality of life.
For example, if you’re having trouble raising your legs to enter the vehicle, consider getting a car that’s easy to get on. If your current seat cushioning is too stiff, consider upgrading it or finding a new car altogether.
Keep Your Vehicle Clean
A dirty windshield can disrupt your vision, which in the worst-case scenarios, may lead to accidents. Even just a small layer of dirt can make it more difficult for your aging eyes.
Therefore, make it a habit to keep your windshield, mirrors, and headlights clean. You may follow up with a car wash every two weeks if you plan on using your car regularly.