Older, Wiser, Safer

Older, Wiser, Safer:
A Senior Driver’s Guide
As the years go by, our abilities change. Some things improve, as
we learn from experience. Others don’t come as easily as they
used to. Our eyes aren’t as sharp, our reactions aren’t as quick,
and we can’t concentrate as well as we once could.
We know it’s because we’re getting older, and that’s natural. But it’s
frustrating when something affects our ability to do something we
really need to do. Like driving our car.
We want to be able to drive when we want to, and do it safely.
Since we can’t expect other drivers to keep out of our way, we must
be able to handle any traffic situation, or stay away from those we
can’t. In other words, we need to learn what our limitations are
and then adjust how, when, and where we drive.
This guide will show you how to test the abilities that determine
how well you drive, and suggest ways to deal with any limitations.
There are also tips for using the new safety features in today’s cars,
plus other information that can help you to keep driving safely.
Recognizing the Signs of Change
Our ability to do things changes so gradually that we hardly
notice it. Each day seems pretty much like the last – until something makes us realize that our abilities aren’t as sharp as
they once were. Jar tops are harder to twist off. Stairs leave us out
of breath. We become more forgetful. Everything we do seems to take longer.
Not all the changes are bad. Over many years of driving, we have
gained wisdom. We have encountered many road situations.
We’re less likely to take risks, speed or drive aggressively.
Still, driving a car uses a lot of different skills, and when you first
learned how to drive, those skills were at their peak. But in recent
years, you – or those who drive with you – may have noticed a
change in how you handle the car or react to traffic situations.
Below is a list of statements that describe feelings or situations you
may experience when you drive. Make a check mark next to those
that apply to you, even if it’s just occasionally. This will give you a
good idea of how you may have changed.
I have trouble looking at all the signs, signals, and traffic
at a busy intersection.
Left-hand turns across traffic make me nervous.
It’s hard to decide when to merge onto a busy highway.
I sometimes get confused or distracted when I’m driving.
I find myself driving slower, so I have more time to react.
The glare from oncoming headlights bothers me.
It’s hard to turn my head to see traffic coming up behind me
or from other roads.
I have trouble reading traffic signs at a distance.
My medication makes me dizzy or drowsy.
I seem to be surprised more often by cars slowing down
ahead of me.
It’s harder to turn the steering wheel.
I’m finding it harder to move my right foot from the gas pedal to the brake.
I’ve been passed by an ambulance and didn’t hear the siren.
Family or friends are worried about my driving.
The police have stopped me for poor driving.
I was in a collision that was probably my fault.
Even if you’ve checked only a few of these statements, you should
read through the following pages. You’ll learn how to measure
some of your abilities that relate to driving, plus you will find
some suggestions on how to compensate for any problems.
Testing Your Ability to
Drive Safely
The following section contains six simple tests to help you be
aware of changes in your physical or mental abilities that are likely
to increase your risks when driving. They are quick and easy to do
by yourself or, in some cases, with the help of another person.
Simply follow the step-by-step instructions provided to test your:
2. Response Time
3. General Fitness
4. Foot Movement
5. Arm Movement
6. Head and Neck Flexibility
The results of each test will tell you if you might have a problem
in that area. If you do, you’ll find some tips on how to compensate
for that limitation and whether you should see a professional for
further evaluation or to remedy the problem.
Problems other than those dealt with here – such as the effect
of medications and your ability to hear horns, sirens and train
whistles – require a visit to your doctor, who can advise you on
how to correct or compensate for these difficulties.
Almost all the information we need to drive is received through
the eyes. So if we can’t see clearly, we may not be able to respond
safely to signals, signs, traffic and road features. As we get older,
our vision also changes in a way that makes it harder to see well
at night and when there’s less light, such as at dusk or when the
weather is cloudy. That’s because there’s less contrast between an
object and its background.
This vision test measures and compares your ability to see in
normal light and under reduced contrast conditions.
How to Take the Test
Read all the steps first. If you wear glasses or contacts for driving,
be sure to wear them for the test. You’ll need paper and a pencil.
1. On the next page are two charts with six lines of letters.
Place the open booklet with Chart 1 at the bottom in a
brightly lit location, making sure there are no shadows
on the chart. Avoid looking at the page too closely so you
don’t memorize the letters.
2. Stand or sit about 10 feet away from the chart. With both
eyes open, write down all the letters you can see on Chart 1
line-by-line, starting with the largest letters. If you aren’t
sure of a letter, write down your guess.
3. Now turn the booklet over so that Chart 2 is right side up.
Again, from about 10 feet away, write down the letters you
can see on this chart.
4. Compare the charts with what you wrote down. Your score
for each chart is the lowest line with no mistakes. For
example, if you were able to see all the letters down through
the fourth line, your score for that chart is 4.
Chart 2
Chart 1
Interpreting the Results
If your score for Chart 1 was 5 or 6, your vision is “normal.”
Of course, your glasses or contacts are working to bring your
sight into the normal range. Your score for Chart 2 will probably
be lower; since these letters have less contrast. The greater the
difference between the two scores, the more difficult it is for you
to see when there’s less light outside.
If you were able to see only the largest or second line on Chart 1,
you may have a problem with your vision that might be limiting
your ability to drive safely.
What You Can Do
• Schedule a complete examination with an eye care
professional to see if the problem can be corrected.
• If you need corrective lenses, always wear a current
prescription. If you lose or break them, don’t rely on an
old pair – get them replaced right away.
• Don’t wear sunglasses or tinted lenses at night or in low light
situations such as fog, rain, dusk, dawn, etc. This reduces the
amount of light that reaches your eyes so that you can’t see
as well.
• Adjust your seat so that it’s high enough that you can see
some of the street within 10 feet in front of your car.
This will help reduce the glare from oncoming headlights
at night.
• Keep your windshield and headlights clean.
• When your car is inspected, be sure they check and correct
the aim of your headlights.
Driving requires continuous visual scanning and quick reactions.
We have to shift our attention between traffic signs, signals and
pavement markings; watch what’s happening on the road ahead;
and be aware of vehicles, motorcycles, cyclists and pedestrians to
the sides and rear. What we see may require us to brake, accelerate,
steer left or right, or execute a combination of actions.
As we grow older, it becomes more difficult to divide our attention
between all these sources of information and respond quickly
and appropriately.
This simple test will help you measure how quickly you can
respond to what’s happening around you. Since this ability
changes with age, the results show how you compare to other
people in your age range.
How to Take the Test
The photograph on the next page shows a typical driving situation
where you have to observe the traffic light, watch for pedestrians
and look out for other vehicles. The object of this test is to identify
as many numbers in order as possible within 10 seconds. Read all
the steps before beginning.
1. Find a timer in your house that you can set for 10 seconds,
such as a stove timer or smartphone, or ask someone to time
the 10 seconds for you.
2. First, do a practice run. Find the number 1 in the upper left
corner of the picture and start timing. Then, with your finger,
touch the other numbers in order (2, 3, 4, 5, etc.) as quickly as you can. Stop when the 10 seconds are up.
3. Now for the actual test. Look away from the test picture,
and reset the timer or stopwatch. When you’re ready, start
timing and begin the test again, starting at number one. Quickly touch each number in order. Stop after 10 seconds.
The last number you touched will be your score.
Interpreting the Results
Find your age range across the top of the chart below. Then find
your score in the column below your age.
Since it’s normal to react more slowly as we grow older, the scores
go down as age increases. But if you scored “below average,”
you’ll need to pay attention to when, where and how you drive
to compensate for your slower response time.
17 &
70 &
What You Can Do
• Drive only when you feel comfortable, which may mean
avoiding driving at night and during rush hour.
• Try to stick to roads where you know the traffic flow.
• Be aware of cars and pedestrians coming from the side and
what’s happening beyond the car just ahead.
• Drive with a passenger who can be a “second pair of eyes.”
(But don’t get distracted by conversation!)
• Blend in with the speed and gaps of the other traffic. If you’re
too close to the car ahead, you can’t stop in time if that
driver brakes suddenly. If you’re too far away, others may cut
abruptly in front of you.
• When conditions allow, a following distance of at least four
seconds is safest. Judge this distance by choosing a landmark
along the road such as a tree or pole. When the car ahead
passes this point, count “one-one thousand, two-one
thousand” and so forth. You’re at the desired following
distance when you can count to “four-one thousand” or
higher before you pass the same point.
The object of this test is to see how fast you can walk a short
distance, which is an easy way to measure the overall fitness of
your leg muscles and joints. Read all the steps before you begin.
How to Take the Test
1. Go to a room that’s more than 10 feet long with a clear floor area.
2. You also need to be able to see a watch or clock that tells
time in seconds or ask someone to time you.
3. Measure a straight 10-foot path and mark both ends.
4. Take a practice walk from the start of the path to the 10-foot
mark and then back to the start.
5. Now get ready to take the walk again. This time you’ll time
how many seconds it takes.
6. Again, walk to the 10-foot mark and back – this time moving
as fast as you feel safe and comfortable. Begin timing as soon
as you pick up your foot to take the first step. Stop timing
when you’ve crossed the start line again with both feet. Your score is the total number of seconds it took you to complete the walk.
Interpreting the Results
If it took more than seven seconds to complete this walk, your
general fitness level may have declined to the point that it may
affect your driving. Research has shown a relationship between
very slow walkers and involvement in collisions and traffic
What You Can Do
To be physically fit, you need to keep using all your muscles and
joints. And that means getting enough regular exercise to help
keep them strong and flexible. Talk with your doctor about a
recommended exercise program.
• A simple way to keep in shape is to do stretching exercises
every day, with emphasis on the legs and knees.
• Start a regular walking program. If there are sidewalks
where you live, take walks around the block. Or walk in an
indoor shopping mall, which can be done in any weather and with greater security.
• Check with nearby health clubs to see if they have fitness
programs geared toward the needs of older people.
Safe practice requires you to operate the foot controls in a car with
your right foot only. This test tells you how well you can move this
foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal and back, which is
something we do constantly when driving.
How to Take the Test
Read through all of the steps before you begin.
1. Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet on the floor
about 12 inches apart.
2. Put temporary marks on the floor where your feet were
and place a brick or similar-sized object midway between
these marks.
3. Practice lifting your right foot over the object to touch the
left spot on the floor and then returning it, without touching
the object. Do this a few times, back and forth.
4. You’re now ready to begin the test. You’ll need to be able to see a watch or clock that tells time in seconds or ask someone to time you.
5. Start with your right foot on the right mark. As soon as you
start timing, lift this foot over the object and tap the left
mark. Then immediately move it back to tap the right mark,
without hitting the object in between. Do this five times,
alternating and touching each mark for a total of 10 taps.
The number of seconds it took to complete these actions
is your score.
Interpreting the Results
How long did it take? If it was more than eight seconds, your
ability to move your leg and foot from the gas pedal to brake pedal
is too slow to respond to emergency situations.
What You Can Do
If you feel your performance on this test may have been affected
by pain or stiffness in your hip, knee or ankle joints, or if you
experience pain or swelling in your feet, you might want to
consult with your doctor.
This test measures how well you can move your arms, which
can affect your ability to steer the car effectively, even with
power steering.
How to Take the Test
1. Sit in a straight-backed chair, with your back against the
back of the chair.
2. Extend your right arm out at your side, keeping your
elbow straight.
3. Lift this arm as high as you can.
4. Repeat with your left arm. Take note of whether you have
enough strength and range of motion in your shoulders to
permit these movements, and how far you can reach.
Interpreting the Results
If you were unable to reach over shoulder height, with either arm,
you will have difficulty operating your car safely.
What You Can Do
Check with your doctor for appropriate medication and/or
exercises to improve your flexibility and bring back some of the
strength in your arms.
When you’re going to change lanes, merge with traffic or turn
into a sharply-angled intersection, you have to be able to turn your head to see other cars. This test determines how well you can do this.
How to Take the Test
1. Place a straight-backed chair about 10 feet away from an
easy-to-read clock.
2. Sit in the chair, facing away from the clock.
3. While keeping your lower back against the chair, try to turn,
look behind you, and read the clock. It’s alright to move your
upper back to do this.
4. Note whether or not you can read the clock without moving
your lower back away from contact with the chair.
Interpreting the Results
If you can’t read the clock without moving your lower back away
from the chair, you probably can’t see other cars to the side and
rear readily enough to avoid collisions.
What You Can Do
• Ask your doctor to recommend medication or exercises to
improve flexibility in your neck.
• Wide-angle mirrors are available, which can help eliminate
blind spots. These can distort the image you see, however,
so be sure to allow lots of practice before using them in
• Another tactic is to re-aim your existing side view mirror
(on the driver’s side) to minimize the left side blind spot.
Here’s how to do this:
1. Sitting in the driver’s seat, lean your head against the left
side window.
2. Adjust the side view mirror outward, so that when you
look at the inside edge you can barely see the side of the car.
3. When you return to a normal driving position, the mirror
will reveal passing vehicles that used to be hidden from view.
This change may seem uncomfortable at first, but, as you gain
experience, you’ll see that it protects you from crashes or near misses with vehicles in your blind spot when changing lanes or
Other Things You Can Do to Keep Driving Safely
The tests and tips you’ve read about here will make you more
aware of any limitations in your ability to drive safely and help
you compensate as much as possible.
Keep Talking, Keep Learning
Beyond this evaluation, it’s important to follow up with your
physician or other health care professional. Talk with them about
your concerns, and have conversations with adult children and
friends to discuss your driving and be open to their perspectives.
There are many older drivers just like you, so you’re not alone in
wondering what’s best.
Many organizations in Pennsylvania offer driving refresher
courses, both online and in the classroom, as well as information
and tips for mature drivers to stay mobile and safe. Taking a refresher course may even get you a discount on your auto insurance premium. A number of these resources are provided at the back of this guide.
Medications and Driving
Medications that can affect your driving include: tranquilizers,
narcotic pain pills, sleep medicines, some antidepressants, cough
medicines, antihistamines and decongestants.
In addition, side effects for an individual drug can change when
combined with other medications, especially new prescriptions.
It’s a good idea to make sure your doctor is aware of any overthe-counter medications you are taking in addition to your
prescriptions. If you are seeing more than one doctor, make sure
they’re all aware of what the other is prescribing. You might want
to consider bringing along all medication you are taking to each
If you’ve just started on a new medication, you might want to avoid
driving for a few days until your body adjusts and it becomes clear
if you are experiencing side effects. And of course, NEVER drink
and drive – alcohol is a depressant and combined with other drugs
can make side effects worse.
AAA offers Roadwise RX – a free, confidential online tool that
adults can use to explore how medications may affect safe driving.
Visit www.roadwiserx.com.
Safety Belts and Air Bags
Always buckle up! Make sure everyone in the car, including infants
and children, has the right kind of occupant protection device
and safety belt restraint in place. For more information about
passenger safety, visit the Traffic Safety and Driver Topics section
of www.penndot.gov/safety.
Earlier, we suggested that you raise the front seat to sit higher,
which reduces the glare of oncoming headlights. This will also make
your shoulder belt fit better so that it’s more comfortable and will
do a better job of restraining you in an accident. Special “sleeves”
are available to reduce rubbing from the shoulder harness.
In newer cars, the driver and often the front seat passenger have
the added protection of air bags. But air bags alone will not protect
you in a crash. They must be combined with safety belts to be most
effective in preventing death and reducing injury.
Safety belts keep you from being thrown into the steering wheel
or windshield. Air bags help by distributing the force of the impact
over your upper body and stopping you more gradually. After an
air bag inflates, it quickly deflates, so that it doesn’t keep the driver
from seeing or being able to steer the vehicle, and won’t get in the
way of leaving the car.
Air bags do have a physical impact, and to minimize the risk of
injury, the front seats should be moved back and reclined as far as
is practical while still fully supporting your back. The driver should
be at least 10 inches away from a steering wheel with an air bag.
At this distance, shorter people may have trouble reaching the gas
and brake pedals. If so, pedal extenders are available and can be
installed by an auto mechanic.
Anti-lock Brakes
Most new cars now come with an anti-lock braking system (ABS),
which automatically pumps the brakes faster than a person can.
In an emergency stop, this keeps you from losing traction and
brings you to a safe, smooth stop – often in half the distance of
conventional brakes.
For the system to work properly, you must always apply steady
pressure. Do not “pump” the brakes. You may notice a noise and
vibration in the brakes when the system is operating; this is normal.
Daytime Lights
The idea of driving with the lights on during the day is still
somewhat new, but it does increase safety by allowing other
drivers to see you better. If you have a newer car equipped with
daytime running lights, they will come on automatically when you
start the engine. If you have an older car, turn on your headlights
in the daytime or when the sky is overcast. (Don’t worry about
running down the battery, your lights run on a generator when
the motor’s running.)
Remember that when you are driving in a work zone, even if
you do have daytime running lights, you must also turn on your
headlights in order to activate your tail lights. State law requires
all motorists to travel with their headlights turned on in all posted
work zones, not just active work zones. And if you are stopped or
traveling slowly, use your four-way flashers.
State law also requires you to turn on your headlights anytime
your vehicle’s wipers are in continuous or intermittent use due to
weather conditions.
Remember, it could be the other driver who has a vision or
attention problem – so the more visible you make yourself and
your vehicle, the safer you are.
New Technologies
Many new technologies now exist to enhance driver safety and the
experience of driving. As these technologies become more widely
available, older drivers in particular have a lot to gain by learning
how they work and how to use them. You may have heard of some
of them; many are becoming standard in new cars. These include:
• Smart headlights (also called adaptive headlights) reduce
glare and improve night vision.
• Blind-spot warning systems alert you to objects in blind
spots while changing lanes or parking.
• Lane departure warning systems warn you if your vehicle
is traveling outside your lane.
• Back up cameras help you back up safely by allowing you to see if there are objects behind your vehicle. This tool is helpful to drivers with reduced flexibility.
• Assistive parking systems enable cars to park on their own or
indicate distance to other parked cars to make parking easier.
If you are buying a new car, be sure to ask about what safety
features come with the car. It may take a while for you to become
comfortable using a new device. Ask a family member or friend to
join you in the car and walk through the buttons again as needed.
The National Safety Council site www.mycardoeswhat.org is an
excellent, easy-to-use guide to the latest safety features.
Avoiding Aggressive Drivers
Aggressive drivers are out there, weaving in traffic, tailgating and
generally making roadways less safe and pleasant for other drivers.
If you encounter an aggressive driver:
• Get out of their way and don’t engage with them.
• Stay relaxed, look straight ahead avoiding eye contact and
ignoring rude gestures.
• Don’t block the passing lane if you are driving slower than
most traffic.
Sharing the Road with Other Types of Vehicles
Motorcycles, bicycles, commercial trucks – they are out there,
how do you deal with them safely?
Bicycles and Motorcycles
Be on the lookout for bicycles and motorcycles and anticipate
sudden and unexpected moves from them. Bicycles and
motorcycles are smaller, harder to see, and can stop faster than
expected. Always use extra caution when driving around either
and increase your following distance.
You may pass a bicycle, even when there is a double yellow line,
but you must do so safely and provide four (4) feet of distance
between you and the bicyclist. Be aware that bicycles may occupy
either the shoulder or the right-most travel lane as needed.
Motorcycles are entitled to the same full lane width as other
When making a right turn with bicycles nearby, be sure that you
do not cut off a bicyclist’s line of travel. Slow down and pull behind
them, then make your turn safely. You may cross into a marked
bike lane in order to make your turn, but check for bicyclists as
you do so.
Take extra care when opening your car door, as you can injure
a bicyclist or motorcyclist by impeding their path. If you have
trouble turning your head to check for bicyclists or motorcyclists,
try opening the door with your right hand: this turns your body
and allows for a better view.
Bicyclists and motorcyclists are required to follow the same rules
of the road you are, but be aware that they may need to make quick
movements to avoid hazards and debris in the roadway(such as
potholes or gravel) and may not have time to signal the change of
lane. It is always important to give them plenty of space.
Trucks and Buses
If you cut in front of another vehicle, you may create an emergency-braking situation for the vehicles around you,
especially in heavy traffic. Trucks and buses take much longer
to stop in comparison to cars.
When passing, look for the front of the truck in your rearview mirror before pulling in front, and avoid braking situations.
Large trucks have blind spots, or “no-zones,” around the front,
back, and sides of the vehicle. Avoid being caught in a truck’s
no-zone. If you can’t see the truck driver in the truck’s mirror,
the truck driver can’t see you.
Be careful of trucks making wide right turns. If you try to get in
between the truck and the curb, you’ll be caught in a “squeeze”
crash. Truck drivers sometimes need to swing wide to the left in
order to safely negotiate a right turn. They can’t see cars directly
behind or beside them. Cutting in between the truck and the curb
increases the possibility of a crash. So pay attention to truck signals, and give them lots of room to maneuver.
Left-Hand Turns
Turning left across oncoming traffic, or when cars are coming
from your right, can be challenging for older drivers. It can be
difficult to judge how far away oncoming cars are and how fast
they are traveling. In fact, misjudgments in these situations often
contribute to collisions.
To avoid left-hand turns, consider planning your route so you
can make a series of right-hand turns instead. Or there may be
another intersection a few blocks ahead that only allows protected
left turns on a green arrow signal. These precautions may add a
little extra time to your journey, but they allow you to avoid
challenging situations.
Using Circular Intersections (Roundabouts)
Roundabouts are becoming more common in the U.S. because
they provide safer and more efficient traffic flow than standard
intersections. But the rules are different.
How to drive a roundabout safely:
• Slow down. Obey traffic signs and pavement markings.
• Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.
• Yield to traffic on your left already in the roundabout.
• Enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in traffic.
• Keep your speed low within the roundabout.
• As you approach your exit, use your right turn signal.
• Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists as you exit.
• In multi-lane roundabouts, do not pass large vehicles such as trucks and farm equipment as they may require the use of more than one lane within the roundabout.
When there are emergency vehicles, always yield to them. If you
have not entered the roundabout, pull over and allow emergency
vehicles to pass. If you have entered the roundabout, continue to
your exit, then pull over and allow emergency vehicles to pass.
Avoid stopping in the roundabout.
Watch for Pedestrians
Pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections
whether the crosswalks are marked or not. Always reduce speed
when you see them, and use extra caution when children are in the
Before backing up, always check for pedestrians in your path.
When approaching a stopped vehicle from behind, slow down and
do not pass until you are sure there are no pedestrians crossing in
front of it.
When making a right turn (especially a right on red) be aware of
pedestrians on the right side of your vehicle as they have the right
of way to cross the street you are on.
Getting There Safely
Driving safely – at any age – is really a matter of having the right
information and attitude. By taking the tests in this guide, you’ll
have a more realistic understanding of your driving limitations.
By following the suggestions, you’ll be able to get behind the wheel and have more confidence that you’ll arrive safely at your
The most important thing to keep in mind is simply to be more
aware of situations that can lead to a collision and adjust to
them accordingly.
Remember, keep distractions to a minimum. Driving a car is a very
complex and demanding activity that requires concentration on
many things at once. Avoid any activity that will take your eyes off
the road, especially in heavy traffic. Concentrate your attention on
what’s happening on the road.
Mature Driver
Improvement Courses
Under PA law individuals may be entitled to at least a 5 percent
discount on their entire automobile insurance policy if they are
55 or older and successfully complete a driver improvement course
approved by PennDOT. Those interested should check with their
insurance carrier for the specifics of their program.
There are four state-approved courses that are held at various
locations throughout the commonwealth as well as online including AAA, AARP, Seniors for Safe Driving, and Safe2Drive.
(Please see the following contact information below and on the
next page.)
All approved courses specifically address the safety needs of the mature driver. There are no written or practical driving tests required. The course fees are moderate, but vary with each organization.
American Association
of Retired Persons (AARP)
1-888-227-7669 (1-800-AARP-NOW)
30 North 3rd Street, Suite 750 • Harrisburg, PA 17101
AARP’s Driver Safety website includes information on courses,
auto insurance discounts, adapting automobiles, new technology
as well as online seminars.
American Automobile Association (AAA)
1-800-723-7021 | Locations Nationwide
AAA offers multiple online resources for mature drivers – find your
local AAA office to check on mature driver improvement course
availability in your area.
Visit this AAA website to find mature driver evaluation tools, ways
to improve on essential driving skills and tips for maintaining mobility and independence longer. www.aaafoundation.org/senior-drivers
Discover more AAA information on topics affecting safety such as
automobile technologies as well as self-assessments to screen for
potential driving risk factors.
Seniors For Safe Driving
Mature drivers can find one or two-day classes at a location near them or online.
Here mature drivers can choose from either a Basic Course or
a Refresher Course where, once completed, they will receive a
Certificate of Completion when they pass a final exam.
More Safety Resources
for Senior Drivers
Pennsylvania Department
of Transportation (PennDOT)
1-800-932-4600 • 1101 S. Front Street • Harrisburg, PA 17104
The Traffic Safety and Driver Topics section of this website
contains an array of information pertaining to safely operating a
motor vehicle.
The Mature Driver section of PennDOT’s website offers resources
for drivers including safety tips, improvement courses and licensing
laws as well as information for the health care community and
medical reporting tools.
National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA)
NHTSA offers guides, research reports and toolkits for mature
drivers and those around them, including family and friends,
medical professionals and law enforcement officers.
Pennsylvania Department of Aging
717-783-1550 • 555 Walnut Street, 5th Fl. • Harrisburg, PA 17101
The Aging Services/ Transportation section of this website provides details on the PA Free Transit Program for individuals
65+, the Shared Ride Program, and also offers additional resources
and links.
CarFit is an educational program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal
vehicles “fit” them.
The CarFit program also provides information and materials on
community-specific resources that could enhance their safety as
drivers, and/or increase their mobility in the community.
PA Yellow Dot
This program assists citizens in the “golden hour” of
emergency care following a traffic accident when they may not be able to communicate their needs themselves. Placing a Yellow
Dot decal in your vehicle’s rear window alerts first responders to
check your glove compartment for vital information to ensure you receive the medical attention you need. The program is a cooperative effort between PennDOT, the Department of Health
and Aging, the State Police, the Turnpike Commission, first responders and local law enforcement.
The Emergency Contact Information Program
The Emergency Contact Information Program
was developed to allow your emergency contact
information to be quickly available to law
enforcement through a secure online database.
Just visit www.dmv.pa.gov and click on the icon you see to the
right to use your Pennsylvania Driver’s License or ID information
to enter emergency contacts to speak for you if ever you can’t
speak for yourself.
About PennDOT and our
Seniors Driving Safely Series
PennDOT oversees a breadth of programs and policies that ensure
that the movement of people and goods within the state is safe,
reliable, and efficient. We oversee an ongoing investment in the
integrity of Pennsylvania’s highway and bridge infrastructure.
PennDOT is directly responsible for nearly 40,000 miles of
highway and roughly 25,000 bridges. We also administer the state’s
more than 11 million vehicle registrations and 8.9 million driver’s
licenses and oversee safety and emission inspection programs.
While PennDOT strives to set the standard for an organized
transportation structure and maintain a reliable infrastructure
throughout Pennsylvania, our mission cannot be completed
without the compliance and cooperation of those who utilize
and operate within our state’s roadways and multimodal
systems. Our Seniors Driving Safely Series is one facet of our
effort to help educate, guide, remind, assist, and protect all
Pennsylvanians in getting wherever they need to go – safely.
PUB 381 (3-17)