Overcoming speed bumps at the age of 80 in Ontario
A strategy to improve your success at license renewal time.
While we all might appreciate our government’s efforts to ensure driver competency, the prospect of losing your freedom to drive is a hard pill to swallow at any age. As most seniors know, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation requires drivers to complete a licence renewal program when you turn 80 and every two years after that, to maintain a valid driver’s license.
In our experience as insurance brokers, we know first-hand that the majority of seniors are excellent drivers. The government of Ontario agrees with us, and they know that more aged drivers excel in ways that can make them the safest drivers on the road. Part of this is due to the wealth of experience senior drivers have, making it so they rarely encounter a situation they’ve never seen before. That experience gives them both knowledge of the road and excellent judgement for decision making behind the wheel. Additionally, as people continue to live longer more active lives, it’s fair to say that for many 80 is just a starting point.
Canadian Seniors Living Longer
Senior License Renewal Anxiety is Real
Even though the license renewal process only takes approximately 90 minutes – the stress and anxiety when your freedom to drive is on the line can have a negative impact on the outcome. At Excalibur Insurance, we believe eliminating the unknowns is key to the success of drivers at any age. It’s the reason we’re committed to going above and beyond – from quote to renewal, and every mile in between.
So our Excalibur Insurance team pulled together some key information to address the two most pressing questions elderly drivers face in Ontario:
What’s on the Senior License Renewal Test?
What can I do to maintain my independence on the road as I continue to age?
Senior License Renewal Program
The Ontario Senior Licence Renewal Program should take less than 2 hours to complete, and includes the following:
1. A Vision Test: In this test, a screen reader is used to test your vision.
If you wear glasses while driving, bring them with you to provide an accurate assessment of your vision.
2. Screening Assignments: These assignments will take about 5 minutes each.
The screening assignments are designed to measure if a person’s cognitive abilities are at an appropriate level for driving. They are not driving tests, so no studying is required.
3. Group Educating Session: These 45-minute sessions provide driving tips and are taught by trained driving councilors.
This session also covers any updates to driving laws that may have changed since you began driving. Updated driving tips helps prevent driving infractions that may make keeping your licence difficult down the road.
4. Drivers Record Review: An Ontario Ministry of Transportation employee will review your driving record to make sure there are no serious driving issues.
5. Road Test: This will only be required if the ministry deems it necessary based on the results of your previous assessments.
A road test is not required by the majority of senior drivers. If one is required, it will involve going on a short drive with an examiner to demonstrate your abilities.
Driving as a Senior Improves with Accountability.
Age tends to creep up on all of us, and while completing the license renewal process at the age of 80 might be a simple task – maintaining your freedom to drive at the age of 85 or 90 can become a real challenge. Thankfully, there are proactive measures we can take to keep everyone safer on the road.
1. Have Your Eyes Tested Regularly – By the age of 75, almost half of us have early cataracts. This can seriously affect your driving, and can be easily fixed. Having your eyes checked regularly is one of the most responsible actions you can take as a senior driver.
2. Have Your Hearing Checked Regularly – Hearing loss affects a third of people by age 65, and not being able to hear well can be a huge detriment on the road. Everything from a strange engine noise to the rub of a wheel bearing can give early warning of a potentially catastrophic failure. A hearing test, and if necessary, a hearing aid can be a huge help.
3. Medication Assessment – Some medication can leave you feeling normal, but seriously affect your ability to react quickly. Talk to your doctor to find out how any medication you take may affect driving. If any do cause impairment, making other transportation arrangements until they can be corrected by your physician.
4. Smart Driving Habits – If you have reduced vision or reaction times, driving in bad weather is especially dangerous. By waiting until daylight and clear weather you dramatically reduce the chance of an accident.
5. Pick an End Point – Sooner or later most people come to a point where driving is no longer a safe option. Knowing what that means for you, and being able to accurately plan for it can often lessen the impact it will have on your life. Options like ride services, carpooling with family and friends, or even public transportation are all good alternative solutions. Additionally, local grocery stores and pharmacies with home delivery options are becoming more common, so it’s worth checking to see if you can get what you need delivered right to your door.
As insurers of many amazing senior drivers over the age of 80, our Excalibur Team of Defenders is always here to provide advice whenever you might need us on the road ahead.
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