Like most drivers, seniors want to get the best rates on their auto insurance policy. What they might not realize, say the experts at AutoInsurancePlanners.com, is that senior drivers may present a higher risk than other drivers, making it more difficult to keep auto insurance rates down.
Take steps to make sure you’re getting the best rates on an auto insurance policy. For instance, defensive driving and cars with extra safety features may result in lower rates, because insurers are paying fewer claims. Here are 10 tips to avoid tickets and accidents and to look for auto safety features that will keep rates down:
1. Many car accidents involving seniors occur at intersections. Traffic engineers are more often splitting traffic into dedicated lanes, so scan ahead to allow plenty of time to change lanes. Look for protected left turn lanes with their own arrows, and always keep your tires pointed straight while stopped, so that a rear-end accident doesn’t push you into oncoming traffic.
2. Violations often include failure to yield right-of-way, improper turning or incorrect lane changes, so keep current on rules relating to new traffic designs.
3. Drive at the right speed. Driving too slowly can be as dangerous as speeding, especially when entering or exiting freeways. It can also trigger dangerous “road rage” in other drivers.
4. Sit high enough in your seat so that you can see at least 10 feet in front of your car, advises the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If your car seat does not adjust to allow this, add a cushion. This will make it easier to see pedestrians and bike riders, and reduce problems from oncoming headlight glare at night.
5. Do not wear sunglasses or tinted glasses when driving at night. For many older drivers, night vision is reduced, so safety dictates not driving at twilight or after dark.
6. Senior drivers can refresh their skills and knowledge — and get a discount on auto insurance in many states — by taking a refresher driving course, such as the eight-hour “55 Alive” course offered by AARP. More than two-thirds of states mandate auto insurance policy discounts for such courses, and many insurance companies offer the discounts voluntarily.
7. Look for cars with rear-view mirrors that automatically dim and filter out headlight glare.
8. Air bag technology has become more advanced, with sensors that deploy air bags based on the weight of the occupant, reducing air-bag-related injuries. Some new cars also have side air bags in the seats or door frame that offer better protection.
9. Consider fit and comfort in your new car. Seat belts that comfortably fit over your shoulder and low on your lap will keep you safer. Automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes require less physical effort.
10. Anti-lock brakes operate differently in slippery situations. When buying your first car with this type of braking, make sure to get training on proper use.
While shopping around for the best auto insurance rates is important, which insurance company you choose might depend on how they treat senior drivers. You’ll get their best rates if you’re healthy and drive a safe, modern vehicle.
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