Americans love to drive, and this doesn’t change much as we age. In 2016, there were almost 42 million licensed drivers aged 65 and older, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. More than 3.8 million of these drivers were 85 or older.

Older drivers may pay a little more for auto insurance, at least compared to middle aged drivers. Compared to teens, however, the rates are pretty good. According to an analysis from Value Penguin, 55-year-olds pay the least, with annual premiums coming in at around $1,690. An 85-year-old might pay $2,146. A sixteen-year-old, however, could pay around $6,777.

Of course, these are just averages. Individual auto insurance rates are influenced by many other factors, including where you live and how clean your driving record is. No matter how old you are, if you can show that you’re a safe driver, you can enjoy good rates.

What makes older drivers safe?

Seniors have been driving for decades. In that time, they’ve learned how to anticipate and respond to problems on the road. Their experience can make them excellent drivers.

On top of that, many senior drivers share habits that can make them low-risk drivers. According to the CDC, older drivers tend to do the following:

  • Wear a seat belt. Among occupants killed in a crash, 69 percent of those aged 75 or older were wearing a seat belt, compared to only 37 percent of people between ages 25 and 34.
  • Drive sober. Among drivers involved in a fatal crash in 2017, only 6 percent of drivers aged 75 and older had a BAC over the legal limit, compared to 20 percent of drivers in all age groups.
  • Drive when it’s safe. Older drivers tend to avoid driving at night, during bad weather and on high-speed roads.

What puts older drivers at risk?

Although older drivers have the advantage of experience, they also face problems when it comes to road safety.

According to the National Institute on Aging, many older drivers suffer from health problems that put them at risk. These can include the following:

  • Stiffness
  • Trouble seeing and hearing
  • Dementia
  • Slower reaction times

At the same time, many seniors are taking multiple medications, and these can lead to impairment. It’s important for older drivers to talk to their doctor about how their health problems could impact their driving, and to avoid driving when it is not safe to do so.

How can older drivers improve?

Seniors can improve their ability to drive safely by staying fit and by using hearing aids or glasses as needed.

Here are some other ways senior drivers can stay safe:

  • Use the NHTSA self-assessment to determine how safe you are now.
  • Take a driving course for seniors to refresh your skills.
  • Check any prescription or prescription combinations you take to see how they might impact driving.

Need auto insurance for a senior driver? Get a quote from Jupiter Auto!