January 3, 2012

What is a ‘Good Driver?’

NEWS FOR YOU….from the Iowa D.O.T.

By Debra Carney
Driver License Supervisor, Office of Driver Services
Davenport, Iowa

How can you tell who is a good driver? Someone who has had no tickets or accidents? Or is that person lucky? Do you have friends or family members who consider themselves good drivers yet you are afraid to ride with them? How about your own driving? Are there things you do to stay polished in your skills?

Cars have changed, so have traffic rules, driving conditions and the roads you travel every day.

As we age, our necessary skills for safe driving – vision, reflexes, flexibility and hearing have also changed. If you notice some of these natural age related changes you can adjust your driving habits to keep driving safely. It’s important to recognize your limitations and be aware of everything you can do to remain safely on the road.

Besides recognizing your limitations, you may wish to consider brushing up on your driving skills.

There are a number of programs designed to update you on current rules of the road, defensive driving techniques and how to adjust your driving to those age related changes mentioned above. Many courses are available in both classroom and online settings. You may be eligible to receive an insurance discount upon completing the course, consult your insurance agent for details.

The following are a few of the courses available:

Mature Operator Course
AAA offers both classroom and online driver improvement courses, including a course designed for older drivers, the Mature Operator Course. Contact your local AAA club to find out about driving improvement courses available in your area. To reach your local AAA office, use your phone directory or call (407) 444-7000.

Developed as a community-based activity, the CarFit program is designed to improve the “fit” between mature drivers and their vehicles followed by actions they can take to enhance comfort and safety behind the wheel. Developed in collaboration with the American Society on Aging, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association, the program also provides an opportunity to open a positive, non-threatening conversation about older driver safety and wellness. In addition, CarFit offers specific, practical community resources to help older drivers maintain and strengthen their wellness to extend their safe, independent driving years. To obtain more information regarding CarFit go to their on line site at: www.car-fit.org/


SeniorDrivers.org is a wonderful resource for seniors, their family, and researchers to find in-depth information about senior driving. The site offers screening programs to test driving skills, training programs to help seniors improve skills and information about alternative transportation options. It also has a searchable database containing state specific licensing information pertaining to senior drivers. Roadwise Review Online, DriveSharp brain training and other senior related brochures are all available through the site.

55 Alive
55 Alive is an inexpensive class for older drivers to increase their awareness of driving procedures. It also helps drivers become aware of changes in their physical or mental health and identify any future problems. Contact your local AARP chapter or community college to find out when you can sign up for a class.

Being a good driver means more than avoiding tickets and accidents. Everyone wants to continue driving for as long as possible, no one wants to be a threat to themselves or to others. How can you continue to drive safely?