USAA Tips: Steps mature drivers can take to stay safe

Content provided courtesy of USAA

Auto insurance costs can go up as you age. Research shows seniors have higher fatal crash rates than all other age groups except young drivers. Take the following actions to stay safe on the road and help keep your premiums affordable.

Keep Your Mind Alert and Your Body Fit

1. Stay engaged in physical and mental activities.

Driving is as much physical as it is mental, so everyday tasks can keep you on track of staying sharp – such as reading books, doing housework and grocery shopping. Be sure to introduce different activities into your life, like learning to play the piano or a new style of cooking.

2. Make sure to get regular physicals. Exams should include vision, hearing and cognitive tests.

A medical professional can perform an evaluation to see if you have any of the usual age-related issues that could increase your risk of an accident:

  • Pupil reaction time.

Discuss necessary changes in your driving habits when it becomes troublesome to read signs clearly, especially at night.

  • Joint pain or loss of strength.

Consider an alternative transportation option if you're having difficulty steering, using vehicle controls or safely changing lanes.

  • Trouble processing information.

Modify your driving when you're unable to recognize traffic signals and respond to the actions of others, particularly in unfamiliar areas. Stay vigilant at intersections where failure-to-yield and failure-to-stop accidents are common with other vehicles, motorcycles and pedestrians.

  • Hearing loss.

Eliminate the stress and anxiety of being on the road as soon as it becomes challenging to hear sirens or horns.

Make Sure Your Policy and Coverage Match Your Needs

1. Choose a vehicle with automatic safety features.

A safer vehicle may garner a better insurance premium. Using assistive devices such as autonomous braking systems or backing sensors can help you drive with more comfort, confidence and safety.

2. Evaluate your liability and physical damage coverage to match your needs.

Make sure your auto coverage is appropriate for your current stage of life. Additionally, if your vehicle is older with a depreciated value, consider adjusting the physical damage coverage to save money.

Be Honest With Yourself About Your Driving Ability

1. Ask a friend, family member or transportation service for help.

2. Keep up with your medications.

Know the side effects of your medication and consult with your physician about driving while taking medication.

3. Know the requirements in your state.

Several states require retesting for mature drivers over a certain age at license renewal.