Ontario Driver’s Licence Renewal Tips for Senior Drivers
At one of these sessions, participants can expect to:
- Take a vision test
- Complete a 45-minute interactive group education session about new traffic laws, how aging affects driving, and more
- Complete an in-class screening exercise (practice samples can be accessed here)
- Undergo a driving record review
After the session, participants may need to pass a road test before their licence can be renewed. They may also be required to follow up with their physician. The entire renewal process should take about 90 minutes.
Seniors who are ready for the Ontario Driver’s Licence Renewal process should feel confident in their driving skills and health. We address 6 tips for those who are ready to renew.
Understand the effects of aging on driving
As we age, our physical and mental abilities change. Some of those changes, including our vision, hearing and ability to react, affect our driving. It’s important to evaluate these changes in order to take the necessary steps to ensure we can continue to drive safely.
This being said, many benefits also come with age. Senior drivers may have years of experience behind the wheel – the best judgement comes with experience. Senior drivers have also shown they can adapt to the many changes that have occurred in roads and vehicles over the years. These strengths should allow seniors to be confident in their renewal process.
Regularly assess physical and mental abilities
When drivers are aware of, and diligent about their personal health, they are able to take the necessary steps to brush up on relevant driving skills. CAA offers a two driving assessment tools: one, a simple worksheet and the other, a more in-depth, interactive online assessment that includes a variety of visual, mental and physical tests. These are designed to help drivers get a sense of which areas of ability need improvement.
Improve your driving
There are plenty of courses available for seniors who want to update their driving habits for today’s traffic. Whether in person or online, driving refresher courses can teach about updated traffic laws and driving skills that take into account age-related changes in vision, hearing and other abilities.
One option is the 55 Alive Driver Refresher Course offered by the Canada Safety Council, which is designed to help Canadians 55 years and over to maintain their independence, confidence and driving privileges.
Find the right car for you
When it comes to safe senior driving, not all cars are created equal. Choosing a car with features like larger mirrors and bigger windows can help all-around vision. Other features like automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes are generally recommended for senior drivers.
Drive in optimal conditions
One of the best ways to stay safe on the road, regardless of age, is to always drive under optimal conditions. Some considerations may include avoiding long distance travel, not driving on fast roads such as highways, in busy town centers, in the dark or in inclement weather. Suboptimal conditions can also include the way you feel. Driving while you’re tired or otherwise not distracted is never a good idea.
It is important to know and understand your limitations when you are driving, as confidence is key to safe driving even under the best of conditions.
Check your medications
If you are managing any conditions that require medication, it is essential that you know the side effects related to each drug. Many medications, including pain medications, sleep medications, antihistamines and muscle relaxants can affect driver safety, even when you’re feeling fine.
As a general rule, if the label of your medication reads “Do not use while operating heavy machinery” (a common warning), do not drive while using it. If you’re unsure about the effects that your medication might have on your ability to drive safely, consult your doctor.
Aside from driving, a variety of others affect seniors day to day lives differently than others. For more information on issues from protecting your wealth to travelling safe, refer to the Desjardins Insurance page for seniors (age 60 and over).