Mature Driver Safety
At the Virginia Highway Safety Office (VAHSO), we are trying to keep drivers as safe and independent as possible. The VAHSO promotes and supports programs like Grand Driver. This and other programs assist us all in making sure that, as we age, we get the help and information needed to be a safe "Silver Driver".
Mature Driver Safety Resources
How can mature drivers reduce their risk of injury from motor vehicle crashes?
- Wear your seat belt every time on every ride and make sure everyone else in the vehicle is buckled up.
- Be aware of medication side effects and interactions with alcohol consumption.
- Plan trips during low traffic times.
- Left hand turns are more dangerous, so plan your travel route to include more right hand turns.
- Take a driver improvement class to maintain driving skills and learn the newest highway laws and vehicle changes.
How do I know if my driving skills are declining?
There are a number of warning signs you can look for. Are you:
- Running stop signs or red lights before realizing it?
- Stopping for green lights or when there is no indication that you need to stop?
- Having near misses with vehicles, pedestrians, or objects?
- Merging into another lane without looking?
- Going the wrong way against traffic?
- Getting lost in familiar areas?
- Stopping in the middle of intersections?
- Confusing the gas and the brake pedals?
If you are concerned about your driving skills, consult with your physician about a driving evaluation.
How old is too old to drive?
You can be a safe or unsafe driver at any age. In general, young, inexperienced drivers tend to have the worst driving records, and experienced middle-age drivers tend to have the best ones. However, as early as 60, but more frequently after the age of 75, driving skills tend to decline. This decline is especially true of mature drivers who take certain medications or have conditions associated with the aging process such as vision problems, arthritis, diabetes, strokes, Parkinson's disease, or Alzheimer's disease.
Mature drivers may investigate the following transportation alternatives in their community in advance of actually needing to use them:
- Carpooling with family and friends
- Taxi cabs
- Shuttle buses or vans
- Public buses, trains, and subways
What is DMV's Medical Advisory Board?
The Medical Advisory Board has the authority to review an individual's ability to drive safely. Based on its assessment, the board can restrict, revoke or take no action regarding the individual's driver's license.
A Footnote about Footwear
Please remember that proper shoes play a big part in driving safety.
Drivers should wear safe footwear that does not have an open heel (such as flip-flops or sandals), because these types of shoes can slip off and wedge under accelerator or brake pedals. High-heeled shoes can also be problematic, because heels can get caught in or under floor mats and delay accelerating or braking when needed. Driving in bare feet or in just socks or stockings can also be dangerous, as your feet may slip off the gas or brake pedals.
Sneakers or low heel flat shoes are encouraged.