Understanding Pennsylvania’s Mature Driver Improvement Course Options
In America, 33 states and the District of Columbia have specific provisions for mature driver improvement courses for people over 55 years of age.
As it happens, Pennsylvania isn’t one of them, but that doesn’t mean that older drivers aren’t at risk of having their license revoked. Nor does it mean those “senior” drivers won’t benefit from driver improvement courses.
Mature driver improvement courses are designed to refresh your memory on the rules of the road and update you on any changes that may have been made. They also make it possible for you to qualify for a discount on your insurance rates!
Read on to find out more about the way Pennsylvania handles mature drivers, what you’ll learn in a mature driver improvement course, and how taking one can benefit you in the short and long run!
Pennsylvania Legislation and Mature Drivers
In other states, you might encounter specific legislation that affects your right to drive when you are 55 and older. These can include more frequent license renewals, mandatory written tests, and even on-road tests.
In Pennsylvania, PennDOT has a different way of doing things. It’s important that you’re aware of them. Despite the increase in older drivers in the past few decades, Pennsylvania decided against creating legislation that would specifically affect mature drivers. They determined that there was no reason to expect that someone would exhibit poor driving skills simply because of their age.
Instead, they decided to set up a system whereby 1,900 drivers over the age of 45 are selected at random each month. They are then required to undergo a vision and physical exam by a doctor of their choice. It is possible that from there, drivers will be required to take a written driver’s test.
In addition to this random selection, family members are encouraged to report elderly relatives to PennDOT whose driving they are concerned about. These concerns have to relate to a physical health problem or medical impairment. PennDOT’s medical unit investigates the case and may require the reported person to take either an online driving test or an on-the-road driving test.
At this time, there are no talks of creating legislation that targets all mature drivers. It is possible, however, that the number of randomly selected individuals could increase per month.
What Do Mature Driver Improvement Courses Cover?
You may wonder what mature driver improvement courses cover and how they work. We’ll go over some of those details here. However, for you to receive a certificate and the benefits that come along with it, you will have to complete the courses.
How Aging Affects Driving
According to the National Institute of Aging, your driving may be impaired by many of the changes your body and mind undergo as you age.
Stiff joints and muscles caused by things like arthritis can slow your physical reaction time. This can affect your ability to turn your head quickly enough to notice the drivers, bikers, or pedestrians around your car. It can also affect your ability to turn the wheel or brake when appropriate.
Deteriorating eyesight is a huge concern for mature drivers. Driving requires that you use both near and far sight and that you can adjust between the two on a regular and rapid basis. Bright lights can also cause problems for those who are vision-impaired and seeing past stoplights, headlights, and brake lights can become difficult.
Hearing is of great value when we’re driving. If you’re hearing-impaired, you may fail to hear important signals like honking or emergency vehicle sirens. These sounds help us recognize when we need to brake, when we’re turning or changing lanes at an inappropriate time, or when we need to pull over to let emergency vehicles pass.
Diseases and disorders that affect our mental health must be taken very seriously when it comes to driving. Many patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia can often continue to drive during the early stages. However, it is advisable to cease driving once a patient has trouble remembering where they are or how to get back to their place of living.
The effects of aging are often inevitable, but accidents caused by these effects don’t have to be. When you are more aware of the way your changing body and mind can also change the way you drive, you can work on implementing preventative measures to protect yourself and others on the road.
How Medication Affects Driving
A recent AARP survey found that around 75% of adults aged 50 or older take at least one prescription medication. That means that most mature drivers should consider the way that their medication may affect their driving.
Mature driver improvement courses review some of the ways that your medication may slow your reaction time, alter your vision, or cause any other kind of driving impairment. If you are a driver that takes one or more prescription medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects. Find out if there are certain times that you shouldn’t drive when you’ve taken your medication, such as in the immediate hours after taking it.
If you have been driving for thirty or more years, it may seem silly to refresh your knowledge of the rules of the road. You know them from experience, right?
But what about rules or types of roads that have changed since you took your initial driver’s education courses? Speed limits on highways and in residential areas may have changed. The number of lanes on most highways has increased and as the types of vehicles that are road-safe change, so do the road signs.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes is increased distractions that come from within the car. We now have far more portable technology than we did a decade ago. It’s important to know how to safely use things like your GPS or dashboard touch screen when the vehicle is on.
It’s also important to stay up to date with laws that have been put in place in reaction to these increased distractions. There is an alarming number of accidents caused by distracted driving. Pennsylvania lawmakers hope to cut back on these accidents by implementing a law that bans drivers from using a mobile device to text, check the internet, or do anything else that pulls your eyes away from the road for too long.
Improve Your Driving Skills
The most important part of a mature driver improvement course is, of course, the portion that focuses on improving your driving.
Mature driver improvement courses provide pointers on how to combat the ways that aging can affect your driving. Regular visits to your doctors is a great place to start. You should also be mindful of your changing body and perform appropriate exercise routines that will help you to stay loose and limber.
Online refresher courses like these are geared towards defensive driving. That means that you don’t just follow the rules of the road and keep both hands on the wheel. It means that you are always on the lookout for possible risks or dangers to yourself and others around you.
It also means that you know how to react accordingly.
You shouldn’t expect that others will abide by the rules of the road. It’s important to have a game plan if, for example, a car swerves towards your lane or a pedestrian steps out into the road when they don’t have the right of way.
You should also be prepared for emergency weather situations such as rain or snow. If you know that your car isn’t built for extreme weather or you’re not comfortable driving in extreme weather, your game plan can be as simple as safely pulling to the side of the road and calling for assistance.
Ultimately, you are responsible for your vehicle and the way you are operating it. However, it is highly beneficial to drive in a manner that anticipates the poor decisions or loss of control other drivers may make or experience around you.
How It Works
Our DriveSafe Online Mature Driver Improvement Course is 100% online, which means you don’t have to leave your home to complete it. The Basic Course takes 7 hours to complete and the Refresher Course takes 4 hours.
Both courses feature narrated videos that provide all of the information you need. It’s like watching a television show with a chance to interact with the material. Plus, the course is easy to use because there are only a few buttons to use. That means no confusing designs or course navigation.
You can access these courses on your computer, laptop, or tablet in the comfort of your own home. As soon as you complete the course, your certificate is emailed immediately to you and your insurance agent (if that’s what you want). So you can start saving on your insurance premium. We’re serious, it’s as simple as that!
Why Mature Driver Improvement Courses Are Beneficial in Pennsylvania
There are several reasons that you should consider taking an online mature driver course in Pennsylvania. We’ll go over a few of them now.
First and foremost, taking a safety course will help you to drive more safely. This not only protects you from accidents or injuries but it also protects those around you.
Mature drivers tend to pose fewer safety hazards on the road than new, young drivers. Mature drivers tend to drive at the speed limit, wear a seat belt, and leave their phones and other distracting devices alone.
However, AAA found that drivers 65 and older make up 58% of deaths caused by car accidents. That is not to say that this age group is causing all of these accidents, but rather that they are more at risk of serious injury or death from the force of a collision. For that reason, it is all the more important for mature drivers to practice mindful defensive driving.
Preparedness for the PennDOT Test
You may never have to take the PennDOT test or you may have to take it next month. In fact, nothing is stopping PennDOT from testing the same person more than once, so there’s always the chance that you’ll be required to take it multiple times.
A lot of road knowledge becomes common sense over the years. Putting something you know through muscle memory into words may prove difficult. Taking an online course that refreshes your memory cuts down on the chances that you will fail the test.
(And remember, if you fail the PennDOT test, they can and will revoke your license. It doesn’t matter how clean your driving record is or how good of a driver you are.)
5% or More Off on Your Auto Insurance
In the state of Pennsylvania, drivers who complete approved mature driver improvement courses are guaranteed a mandatory insurance discount of at least 5% on their insurance premiums. Depending on your insurance company, you may be eligible for an even larger discount!
Your completion certificate is good for three years. Once those three years are up, you can take a shorter mature driver refresher course that renews your certification. As long as your certification is unexpired, you will continue to receive a discount on your insurance.
Whether you know you need a refresher on the rules of the road or you just need that discount on your insurance premium, enroll in our PennDOT DMV-approved Mature Driver Improvement Courses today!
We charge no hidden fees, which means that the price tag you see is all we’re going to ask. If for whatever reason your insurance does not accept the certificate and give you a discount, we’ll give your money back.
Do you need assistance or have any questions? Contact our customer support team.