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By Liza Horvath


Senior Drivers are the Best


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009 there were 33 million licensed drivers over age 65 in the United States. Understandably, this number will continue to increase as the boomer bubble marches into seniorhood.


Knowing that most drivers on the roads are seniors should make the rest of us more comfortable because, after all, senior drivers are the safest drivers on the roads today. This statement may not prove to be statistically true but, based on empirical evidence, it appears to be spot-on. Have you ever been nearly nudged off the highway by a senior who – rather than watching the road – is busy texting away on a Smartphone? Most likely, no. Instead, a senior driver can be easily recognized on a highway – they are the car going 40 miles per hour in the fast lane. That may initially sound dangerous but the senior mitigates any danger by turning on their emergency flashers to alert all to their presence.


Most seniors learned to drive early in life – back when manners and obeying traffic signs and signals were all important components of being a responsible driver. We will not see a senior exhibiting road rage or “flipping someone off” in traffic. Also, seniors know that the dotted lines down the road are not merely a suggestion of lane assignment – but a rule. Seniors know that cars (and previous to that, buggys) were equipped with horns on which you “tap” to alert another driver to a potential problem – horns are not there to lay on when the person in front of you has yet to notice that the light has turned green. Seniors exhibit perfect posture while driving – sitting straight up, hands at 10:00 and 2:00 on the wheel and eyes forward. They may also have their nose about an inch from the steering wheel peering cautiously over the top. It is yet to be determined whether they do this because it is more comfortable, or if they believe by sitting forward a foot or two in the seat will help them see the road more clearly.


On a more serious note, according to the CDC older drivers take more protective measures that help improve their safety than their younger counterparts. Seniors tend to drive only when conditions are optimal – if the weather is bad or if driving somewhere includes returning home after dark, a senior often chooses to stay in rather than drive. Seniors are less likely to drive while intoxicated or otherwise impaired and, when they do choose to drive, they are more likely to wear seatbelts.


Driving is an important aspect of everyone’s life – but especially for seniors. Staying mobile will support a senior in remaining independent and increases the likelihood they will socialize – which is important for healthy aging. Unfortunately, while seniors are generally safe drivers, if involved in an accident they are likely to suffer greater injury than younger drivers – simply due to age and frailty. Seniors can, however, take steps to increase their driving safety: Regular exercise increases strength and flexibility; check with your doctor to review medicines that could be effecting cognitive function and impairing driving ability; keep up on eye examinations to be sure sight is perfect or as near perfect as possible; and, while on the road, leave a large following distance to the car in front of you. More information and older driver tips can be found at www.Seniordriving.AAA.com. Stay safe, have fun and here’s to you, grandma!

Liza Horvath has over 30 years experience in the estate planning and trust fields and is the president of Monterey Trust Management, a financial and trust management company. This is not intended to be legal or tax advice. If you have a questions call (831)646-5262 or email liza@montereytrust.com










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