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tips for older drivers

Recent studies report that as the number of older drivers is growing, the number of accidents they're involved in is shrinking. How can this be?

One possibility is that seniors are now healthier, in general, than they were just a few decades ago. And good health allows lifelong drivers to drive safely and keep their insurance rates down. We gathered these tips to help older drivers continue this promising trend.

How to drive safely and save on car insurance

As long as you have your health and your vision, there's no reason to think that aging deteriorates driving skills. But older drivers are considered more fragile in accidents, meaning it's more important than ever to drive safely and avoid unnecessary collisions.

We gathered 3 tips that can help keep you safe and your driving record clean. And there's no better way to save on car insurance than to maintain a clean driving record.

Self-limit your driving

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that many older drivers contribute to their impressive safety statistics by "self-limiting" their driving as the years go on. That can mean driving only to the store and back during the daytime. It can also mean leaving the car in the garage when it's snowing or the roads are icy.

Lots of car insurance companies (including yours truly) may offer lower rates or discounts when you drive fewer miles per year. The logic here is fairly straightforward: the less time you spend on the road, the lower the risk of getting into an accident.

Next time you shop, buy a safer car

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The next time you're in the market for a new vehicle, make safety a priority. Cars with top-of-the-line safety ratings, like the IIHS' Top Safety Picks, often cost less to insure because of their lower likelihood of causing accidents and damage in an accident. You can also visit safercar.gov or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 to find out about a vehicle's government crash test results.

In addition to the ever-important safety ratings, some cars and trucks are equipped with enhanced safety features made with seniors in mind. Dashboard-mounted ignitions, large-print gauges, special seat adjusters, and support handles on the doors can make driving that much easier.

Take a certified driver safety course

discount

This is one of the best ways for older drivers to snag a discount on car insurance. In some states, like Minnesota, a 10 percent discount is lawfully guaranteed to drivers 55 and up who complete a certified safety course.

These courses involve written and driving exams and can be conducted by state-approved specialists or your state's DMV. A little Internet sleuthing can turn up available courses in your neck of the woods.

Age alone does not an unsafe driver make

These are a few of the ways that senior drivers can stay safe and avoid accidents.

Various health conditions can lead to dangerous driving. By carefully monitoring your health and watching for any signs of declining driving skills, you can safely share the road with any young whippersnapper. And stats back it up: the IIHS reports that traffic fatalities among older people dropped a whopping 46 percent per capita from 1975 through 2012.

Your own history of safe driving will always be rewarded by lower car insurance rates. If you're looking for a new policy, you can easily shop and compare through Esurance at any time.

Related links

Driving safely while aging gracefully
The NHTSA offers in-depth insight into the challenges faced by senior drivers.

The promising stats and facts about older drivers
Recent studies suggest that grandpa's not as dangerous on the roads as his grandpa may have been.