Guide to Re-taking Your Driver's Test
Re-taking your driver's test might not seem like the most thrilling way to spend an afternoon, but sometimes it's necessary. As boomers get older, they must concentrate on staying safe on the road, and some states even require them to re-take their driver's test at certain intervals.
According to AAA, boomers need to pay careful attention to the features that come with the cars they buy. For instance, you'll want a car with plenty of safety features, such as lane-departure warnings, back-up cameras, and collision warning systems. It's also important to find a comfortable car. If you suffer from arthritis or physical limitations, for instance, a vehicle with lumbar support and ample leg room can prove beneficial.
Make sure your car has adjustable seats so you can find the position that works best for your body. Some of the newer cars even have memory systems; when you use your key to start the car, the vehicle "remembers" the best positions for your seat, mirrors, and steering wheel.
Staying Safe on the Road
Make sure you're always aware of your surroundings when you get behind the wheel. Don't let conversation or music distract you from your task. Instead, keep your eyes on the road and make sure you can hear potential warning signs of danger, such as squealing tires. Turn off your phone if you think you'll feel tempted to answer a call or respond to a text message.
The Mayo Clinic recommends driving under the best possible conditions. Run your errands during daylight hours, for instance, especially if you have diminished night vision. Stay off the streets during inclement weather, such as storms or blizzards, and avoid driving in fog or other conditions that reduce visibility. If possible, don't get in your car during rush-hour times or other periods of heavy traffic.
It's also a good idea to have your car washed on a regular basis. Dirt and grime can restrict visibility and reduce your headlights' and tail lights' performance, especially after dark. Replace your windshield wipers when they start to wear out and refill your windshield wiper fluid reservoir.
When you're driving, make sure you stay at least two car lengths' behind the vehicle in front of you. This gives you plenty of time to brake if that car stops suddenly. Use your turn signals and make sure your lights are in good working order.
Updating Your Driving Skills
Did you know that you can take online or in-person courses to update your driving skills and prepare yourself for challenges you might face on the road? The AARP encourages boomers to take driving safety courses. These classes help people in their 50s and older overcome the obstacles they face as aging drivers. The more you know about your car and your limitations, the safer you'll become.
The AARP's course covers myriad skills and issues, from deciding whether or not to drive while you're taking medication to the skills required to negotiate clogged intersections and change lanes on busy highways. You can look for driving safety classes near your home or participate in one online.
Re-taking Your Driver's Test
Some states require drivers to re-take their tests at certain times. For instance, in Illinois, drivers must take road tests at every renewal starting on their 75th birthdays. You might also have to re-take your driver's test if you let your license expire for a certain number of years or if you have a significant change in your physical abilities.
Re-taking your driver's test doesn't have to be a source of stress. Before the test, update your knowledge of your state's rules of the road. You can pick up a driving manual at the Department of Motor Vehicles or
Department of Transportation in your city.
You might also ask a loved one to take a drive with you. Invite him or her to offer tips or to point out any mistakes you might make during the trip. Brush up on the more complicated skills, such as parallel parking, and make sure you're still comfortable on all types of roads.
Even if your state doesn't require you to re-take your driver's test, you might have to get your license renewed more often starting at a certain age or take more frequent vision tests. These rules help protect everyone on the road, no matter how frustrating they might seem.
If you have to re-take your driver's test in the near future, start preparing now. Even if you don't need to re-test, however, use the tips above to ensure that you're always safe on the road.