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Senior Drivers

Drive Test Strategies for Senior Drivers
Practical tips that can help you pass the road test.

Your birthday is coming up, and your license is about to expire. How much anxiety can you handle? Pretty much everyone is nervous when it comes to renewing their license. It's normal. Being able to drive means a lot to all of us. You probably have had friends or relatives fail the road test. Here are some tips from a successful driving teacher with over 35 years experience.

1. Renew Early
In most States you can renew your drivers license up to 6 months before your birthday. We recommend going in a month or two before your license expires. If you go on the last day, most examiners will be suspicious as to why you put it off so long. Usually people procrastinate because they have doubts about their abilities. The DMV knows this. If you come in on the last day to renew the added suspicion might trigger a road test. 80 percent of seniors taking a renewal test fail! That is an incredibly high number, because most of the seniors I work with actually drive pretty well There are certain things the DMV is looking for that experienced drivers have either forgotten or not yet learned. The biggest reason for failing is not looking over the shoulder to check the blind spot. There are three areas where this is most important.

Whenever I give a Senior Driver Workshop on defensive driving, I always advise my students to have a good driving teacher check them out before they go to the DMV.  Most of my clients contact me after they have failed one or two tests, or worse yet may have already had their licenses taken away. It is really an uphill battle to get the license back, but I am successful about 95 percent of the time. Remember a driving teacher is on your side, and will help you if he/she can. Do not assume that just because you have driven safely for the last 55 years that there is nothing you need to learn. All drivers develop some weakness, and this is what you need to know before you take a road test.

2. Pass the Written Test
Study hard for the written test; you definitely want to pass on the first try. If you fail, and especially if you fail badly, this could be a sign of a memory problem. This is mostly what the DMV is looking for, signs or mental or physical deterioration. If you have trouble with the written test, you can be sure you will be getting a road test. On our Web Page www.sunshinedrivingschool.com we have a Handy Study Guide for the written test along with some practice tests. The DMV handbook is difficult to follow and understand for many drivers so we suggest you use the handbook and the study guide together for best results.

3. Look Coherent
Upon entering the DMV you want to look as confident and coherent as possible. The DMV will be scrutinizing your movements, especially if they are not very busy. If you looked confused or disoriented, this could trigger a road test. The less you say the better. They will talk to you in lower tones to see if your hearing is ok. Unfortuately if you use a walker or a cane, this can raise their suspicions. But it is better to use these implements than to fall down at the DMV. If yo tend to get confused under pressure, take a friend with you who can pont you in the right direction and get you in the correct line. You don't want to be wandering around the DMV like a lost soul.

4. A Road Test
If they request a road test, this is the time to contact a driving school in your area that specializes in working with senior drivers. Most like working with teens, because they are easier to train. Tell them that you want their most experienced teacher because you are checking out several schools in the area. They are likely to send one of their better teachers. The larger driving schools usually have several competent instructors on their staff, but will just send you whoever is available if you don't ask for the best. The smaller schools are frequently owner/operated, so ask for the owner, he probably knows the most. You can also call a rehabilitation facility in your area and ask them who they recommend. The instructor that does their evaluations is usually highly qualified. This is not a time to cut corners, you want someone who really knows what they are doing.

Most of the seniors I have worked with are actually fairly good drivers who don't want to hurt anyone. They usually improve well enough to pass their road test. A good instructor can pretty much tell in the first 15 minutes how many sessions you might need, although most evaluations are about an hour.

If your instructor thinks that you are both unsafe and untrainable (due to a memory problem) he should also tell you this on the first session. If an instructor gives up on you, don't despair, get a second opinion. In the last 35 years, I have helped hundreds of drivers that other schools have given up on.

If you do not have access to the internet, and wish a list of articles that I have written or the easy to follow Handy Study Guide, then please call Ken  Cornelius at (805) 646-2113.

Testimonials

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-Tobias Tune

"Thanks to Sunshine Driving School I aced my drivers test on the first try...with compliments from the examiner for avoiding and accident with remarkable reflexes!"
-Akka B, Poet

Oakland "This man taught me to drive when I first came to this country. Triple AAA+++, thank you Ken, for all your safe driving tips and your patience with me. Now I love to drive!"
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"Ken is a great teacher. I was only 26 years old when I took his program. I had just come from New York and had never needed a car. Ken's instruction insured that I became a safe and happy driver! Thanks Ken!"
-Marilyn Mosley-Goranier: Educator, Ojai

"Ken taught me to drive in a month and a half at age 32. He also taught both of my children to drive. My daughter went on to drive buses while attending U.C. Santa Cruz. He is the best!"
-Jessica Watling-Murray

If you want to learn to drive this is the place to call! The skills you will gain will last a l lifetime. I have proof!
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"My daughter was 21 and was too scared to learn to drive. Sunshine Driving School was the only place where she felt safe enough to learn. Now she's a confident and safe driver. Thank you!"
-Debbie Godfrey, self employed

Ken and Sunshine Driving School were the best things that could have happened to me during learning to drive experience. After a horrible set of lessons from another local driving school, after which I vowed I would never drive again, Ken reestablished my confidence in my driving abilities. His calm demeanor assured me that I was always safe, and his encouragement (and occasional humor) helped me learn in a positive and constructive way. Folks, Ken is undoubtedly one of the best driving teachers out there. His experience shows in every lesson and interaction. It was a pleasure and honor to learn how to drive from Ken, especially after encountering the worst. Heck, I even passed my test first try!

I hope that this suffices! I could probably write you an in-depth 5 page paper if you really wanted it. I'm thinking a catchy title would be: KEN CORNELIUS, PRAISE BE UNTO HIM! :) hahaha.

I hope that you and all of your family is doing well. I recommend you to EVERYONE! Truly!

Best wishes always,
Olivia, Thacher Student

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