Did you know there are more than 105,000 licensed drivers over the age of 60 in Alaska? You are the fastest growing population in the nation, and we want to keep you safely behind the wheel for as long as possible to preserve your independence and quality of life.
It is best to be prepared and consider alternate means of transportation (buses, taxis, personal drivers, shuttle buses) before driving problems develop. Test the options out with a friend who already uses them to decide which best meets your needs.
How do I keep driving safely?
Some simple steps may prolong your time behind the wheel.
- Schedule periodic eye exams
- Update prescription glasses
- Increase the brightness on your vehicle's instrument panel
- Keep the windshield and headlights clean
- Replace faulty windshield wipers
- Schedule periodic medical exams
- Ask your physician specific questions related to your driving status
- Ask if there is any occupational or physical therapy that may help with driving
- Choose a car with:
- Automatic transmission
- Power steering
- Power brakes
- Easy-to-read instrument panel
- Avoid distractions
- Reduce noise and distractions by
- Limiting conversations
- Turning down the radio
- Reducing fan for air conditioner or heater
- Use extra caution
- Avoid driving in inclement weather
- Check traffic when changing lanes
- Look before backing up
- Use signals, mirrors, and your horn
- Plan ahead
- Take easier routes
- Avoid rush hours
- Avoid driving in the dark
- Practice Skills
- Assess your abilities with a driving test
- Take a course to sharpen skills and learn new strategies.
If you are concerned slowly start transitioning to other modes of transportation like riding the bus, ride sharing, taxis, or family members.
You may need to make some significant changes if many of the following describe your driving:
- You have trouble recognizing or observing traffic signs and signals.
- You do not hear emergency sirens.
- Everyone else seems to drive too fast or too slow. You have had some close calls recently. For example, misjudging gaps in traffic, cars seem to "come out of nowhere,”you get honked at more, you’ve had moving violations in the last few years.
- You have physical difficulty driving. For instance, trouble moving your foot from the gas to the brake, trouble turning to look over your shoulder, taking medications that cause drowsiness, dizziness, seizures, or blackouts.
- You get angry or confused driving. You forget how to drive to familiar places.
- You feel exhausted after driving.
What is a special examination?
Alaska state law allows DMV to conduct a reexamination of your driving ability if the DMV receives a written request from law enforcement, family, physicians, or others acceptable to DMV.
To maintain driving privileges, you may be required to submit a medical form verifying you are safe to drive and successfully complete:
- The vision test
- The written test
- The road skills test
Based on a physician’s recommendation, you may be required to have an evaluation and/or training from a certified rehabilitation center and provide the DMV with a release from the center.