Courses for seniors

Driving is an important skill to possess. For many, it marks their official plunge into adulthood. After all, nothing spells responsibility like operating an automobile on your own.

This journey may begin with your parents generously buying you your own car. It may be as simple as being entrusted with the car keys for a night out with friends. However your driving began, it was surely a memorable moment, surely one that has shaped your youth.

However, life happens and we move farther away from those days and enter a whole new world as we become parents and, later on, grandparents. Despite the differences, though, one thing remains the same: Driving means freedom, self-sufficiency and happiness. Yes, senior citizens are entitled to the right to drive and have the freedom to do so, as long as they are deemed capable and virtually risk-free.

So, what are the simple joys and perks that we experience when we drive through our senior years?

Benefits of Driving as a Senior Citizen

Contrary to what many prejudiced individuals think, seniors, if truly fit and able, are actually safe drivers. Many experts claim that older drivers are more likely to follow safety regulations such as wearing seat belts, following the speed limit, avoiding testing while driving and not driving while intoxicated. Senior citizens also avoid late night driving, stay at home during rush hour, and prefer staying away from highways.

Seniors who also stick to driving are more likely to avoid depression because they are usually the ones who don’t need to stay in nursing homes. After all, driving provides individuals self-sufficiency, a characteristic that boosts self-esteem and overall happiness.

However, many are wary about driving as they age because of safety reasons. Again, this is where a driving class would be of great use, especially when preparing for Ontario’s senior driver’s license renewal

Senior Driver’s License in Ontario

As part of Ontario’s initiative to keep the roads safe, drivers aged 80 and older are required by law to renew their license every 2 years. This simple and reliable process takes around 90 minutes to finish and involve steps that are easy to follow:

Getting the notice
  • When you hit your 80th birthday, you will receive a renewal form along with the steps you need to take to renew your license.
  • Your license will expire around 90 days after the notification letter arrives.
Booking a renewal session
  • You can book your appointment through this toll free number: 1-800-396-4233
  • Prepare your driver’s license number.
  • Let any language barriers or other needs that require special assistance be known.
  • Upon getting a date, time and place for your renewal, check your calendar for any scheduling conflicts.
  • If you are unable to make the appointment, you can reschedule the session once.
  • A temporary permit can be issued to seniors whose renewal session can only be scheduled after his or her driver’s license expires.
  • A driver’s license can already be renewed 6 months before its expiration.
  • An early booking is recommended for those leaving Ontario within the 90 days before their license expires.
Attending a renewal session

What to bring:

  • Driver’s licence (or temporary driver’s licence)
  • Licence renewal form you got in the mail
  • Hearing aids (if necessary) and eyeglasses (the ones you use for driving)

Please note that some renewal locations do not have water available, so it is best to bring your own. Snacks are also good to have, especially for seniors who are diabetic.

What to do:

  • Take a vision test.
  • Join a class for a 45-minute interactive Group Education Session (GES) that will cover new traffic laws, road signs, driving as a senior citizen, and some handy tips for senior drivers.
  • Accomplish two, non-computerized in-class screening assignments.
  • Undergo a driving record review.

After completing the screening assignments and having your driving record reviewed, your driving ability shall be assessed. Some senior drivers, upon consideration of those two factors, may be asked to pass a road test in order to renew their licence.

Others may also be required to submit medical information provided by his/her physician. Those who need to follow up with a physician shall receive a letter for further instructions.

Each session has a driver improvement counsellor that you can consult and discuss with for any of your concerns.

Getting a new license card

After attending the session and passing the tests, you can claim your new licence card at a Service Ontario centre. To get your renewed driver’s license, please bring:

  • Your written test results
  • Identification that shows your legal name, date of birth, and signature.

The In-Class Screening Assignments

One of the most crucial parts of your renewal session is the screening. Here’s what you need to know about these in-class exercises:

  • The exercise is made of 2 parts, to be accomplished in 5 minutes each.
  • These assignments are written and cannot be taken orally.
  • These 2 parts are different assessments of one’s cognitive abilities that are related to his/her driving skills:
    1. The clock drawing is used to measure a driver’s visual and spatial capacities.
    2. Letter cancellation is used to check a driver’s ability to coordinate mind and body.

Given the short amount of time to prepare for these simple yet crucial tests, we highly recommend getting up to speed where those skills are concerned. Of course, the best way to do that is to actually get behind the wheel and drive.

Safe Driving Tips for Senior Citizens

  1. Consult your doctor. Before considering taking any lessons, keep your vision tests and medical exams updated. If you have any health problems or existing conditions, make sure that these issues and the medications you are taking will not interfere with your driving. Together with your doctor, you can come up with a plan on how to continue driving safely at your age.
  2. Seniors are highly recommended to work with a driver rehabilitation specialist. This is a person who is trained to assess your driving skills. This specialist shall put into place certain driving restrictions, adaptive devices and practical retraining. He/she will serve as your occupational therapist for this particular skill.
  3. Take a defensive driving course. As seniors, it is most important to learn or rehash defensive driving to avoid being vulnerable and to easily spot potential hazards on the road. This ability to detect bad weather and other people’s poor driving skills can help save many lives.
  4. Avoid problematic areas. Highways and high-speed roads must be avoided. Luckily, there are plenty of navigation apps that make it easier even for senior drivers to re-route and find their way safely towards any destination.
  5. Don’t go out during bad weather. Senior citizen drivers must stay at home or get a ride during heavy rain, or during any occurrence of ice or snow. You can wait until the weather clears and the roads are safer, or you can opt to use public transportation, a taxi or ride-sharing apps when it is truly necessary to leave.

Whether you are a senior in your 60’s just trying to get your skills upgraded or an 80-year-old seeking license renewal, it will be worth your while to learn everything you can about getting around with your automobile. You will gain an understanding of a senior’s limitations and advantages, and begin to enjoy a whole new perspective on driving. Taking a class will give you that much needed refresher and finishing a course will give you the confidence you need to pass any test and drive any road.

With AMB Driving School, you will experience comprehensive driving lessons from our licensed instructors. We have been around since 1993 and have a 98% passing rate for our learners. You can easily view our different courses and training programs through AMBDriving.com. Each package comes with its own benefits, based on your needs and capabilities.

Experience driving like a pro (no matter the age!) with AMB Driving School. Enroll now!