TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR DRIVING SKILLS AND PRIVILEGES
By Melissa Wynn
In this new millennium, the Senior Community is a much more health conscientious and active crowd than their grandparents were. Sixty-five is the new forty-five and 100th birthdays are common these days. Today’s senior citizen is on the move and often driving in the fast lane trying to catch that little old lady from Pasadena.
California Department of Motor Vehicles reports that by 2030 one in five drivers will be 65 or over. Today in California more than 5.5 million drivers are over 55 and over 2.5 million are over 70. Granny is cruisin’ the strip and still quite able to do so. Unfortunately, the natural effects of aging eventually catch up to us, and sometimes force some changes in our driving habits. Contrary to what many believe, there is no special age set by law or the DMV that requires one to report to DMV and prove they are still “spry” enough to drive. Anyone can be summoned for reexamination to keep their driving privileges but age alone is not among those reasons. California DMV wants everyone to enjoy driving for as long as we are safely able. Medical complications such as vision issues, side effects of medication, arthritis and diabetes are a few reasons that the mature may start to drive differently. Self monitoring is the best way to keep driving safely for a good long time. Know your limitations and work around them. You know best if night driving has become a challenge or if that right knee is just getting too stiff to hit the brake quickly in an emergency. Better to keep ourselves in check than to hear the dreaded speech from our children or family doctor.
Even with physical limitations, DMV makes allowances to keep you on the road. Although there may be restrictions, if you are certain your ability to drive is still intact, the California DMV will work with you to fill your driving needs. Next time your license is due for renewal there are a few things you can do to be as ready as you can be. A visit to your eye doctor for an eye exam will let you know if new glasses are in order before DMV lets you know. It also can’t hurt to read the latest drivers’ handbook in case a written exam is needed for your renewal. Making an appointment by calling the number below can save you a long wait in a long line. I think the wait might just be the worst part. If you’re afraid that your driving skills may be a bit rusty, there are several Mature Driver Improvement Programs available to help you brush up before the big day. More information on these programs and a self assessment quiz are available online at www.dmv.ca.gov. You can also obtain senior driving information by mail by calling California Department of Motor Vehicles at 1-800-921-1117. Keep Cruisin’ safely Mountain Valley seniors; those Sierra Mountain roads are gorgeous this time of year and you don’t want to miss a thing.
Facts and stats courtesy of www.dmv.ca.gov