If you still driving regularly, here are a few questions to consider. Do you feel comfortable behind the wheel? Are you physically able to do what’s necessary to operate your vehicle? Are you up to date on national driving laws and the laws in your state? Have your insurance rates gone up because of accidents? Could you pass a driving test? If these questions called for some soul searching, that’s not surprising. The answers may reveal some new insights.
Let’s start with whether or not you feel at ease while you’re driving. There is no objective answer to this question. Only you know whether you feel nervous behind the wheel or on the road. Are you overly cautious when you change lanes or merge onto a highway, or do you avoid highways altogether? Do you drive slower than other drivers or wander out of your lane? These may be signs of your flagging concentration or confidence in your driving.
Are you physically able to do what’s necessary to operate your vehicle? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. It involves everything from your eyesight to your daily meds. To be really certain that you’re up to the job, it’s a good idea to have a complete physical, an eye exam, and a hearing test. It would also be a good idea to see an occupational therapist to be sure you’re using the correct body mechanics getting in and out of the car, as well as when you are driving.
Are you up to date on national driving laws and the laws in your state? While there are some basic rules of driving that are true across the country, such as driving on the right side of the road and obeying the speed limits, the states each have their own regulations. Of course, you need to know the driving laws for your state, but if you move to another state or travel within the United States, you should become aware of the laws of the state you’re going to or even just driving through. Check out the AAA website for a detailed state-by-state look at traffic laws and driving rules.
Have your insurance rates gone up because of accidents? This definitely requires a yes or no answer. If you have been having automobile accidents, even if they are just fender benders, that should be a red flag that something is wrong. It could be one of the health issues mentioned above, or your reaction time may have slowed down. Something you may never have thought about is whether your feet can feel the pedals in your car. There are many reasons why your feet may lose their sensitivity. If you think that may be the case, it’s worth a trip to your physician.
Could you pass a driving test? Remember when you took your first written driving test, followed by having your driving skills evaluated on the road by an instructor? You may have taken those tests the minute you were old enough to apply for a driver’s license—at sixteen, perhaps. If that’s when you first began to drive, in the intervening years, many things have changed, including the test. If you have serious doubts about your ability to pass the driving test, consider taking an online or classroom AARP or AAA Mature Operator Course designed to meet your needs if you are over fifty-five. If you successfully complete these courses, you might be eligible to receive insurance premium discounts.
Should you continue to drive or consider other options for getting around? As you can see, there is a lot to think about before you make this tough decision.