When renting a car in Europe, some young drivers and senior citizens are upset to find that they are either prohibited from driving the car or that they have to pay an extra fee to be able to do so. The two groups that are most likely to find themselves in this situation are those looking to rent a car under 25, particularly teens, and older seniors above 75. These car rental fees and restrictions vary country to country, but no matter where you are traveling, if you discover your rental car options are more limited, you're bound to be upset. However, it is important to understand why rental car companies do this so that, if you find yourself in one of these groups, you can do everything within your power to be a safe, educated driver.
Car Rental Under 25
Although learning to drive and getting a license are important rites of passage for most American teenagers, finally getting behind the wheel of the car can be dangerous for new drivers who are just learning the skill. In fact, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than for all other age group across the spectrum. European car rental companies, interested in keeping their businesses running smoothly and their car rental fleets in top condition, are quite aware of what these statistics reveal about teen drivers, and for that reason, they either impose heavier fees on younger drivers or refuse to rent to them altogether.
Young drivers, who have been driving for less time than other adults, are simply less equipped to assess and deal with hazardous driving conditions. In addition, 15- to 20-year-olds are more likely to speed, less likely to use seatbelts, and more likely to drive while under the influence than other groups. These reckless behaviors combined with their inexperience make them a liability not just for car rental companies, but for other drivers on the road.
If you are a young or teen driver, there are a few simple steps you can take to drive more safely and attentively at home and abroad:
1. Never drink and drive
2. Respect posted speed limits
3. Don't drive in bad weather or late at night
4. Never drive while distracted by electronic devises or other passengers
5. Always wear a seatbelt to lessen the chance of injury or death in the case of an accident
Senior Car Rentals
Senior citizens, particularly those over 75, are often annoyed if they learn that a car rental company is going to impose an older driver fee before allowing them to drive a car. Driving is a great way for older drivers to feel young, stay independent, and be mobile, but the truth is that the risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash increases as you age. However, this has little to do with older drivers engaging in risky driving or getting into accidents more frequently; rather, it is due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications among seniors. In fact, many older drivers intentionally avoid situations that are more likely to cause motor vehicle crashes, such as driving at night, in bad weather, or at high speeds.
Nevertheless, it is a fact of life that age-related declines in vision, hearing, and cognitive functioning, such as the ability to quickly recall information, may affect some older adults' driving skills. In addition, some senior citizens experience physical changes like stiffness in the neck or legs that make it more difficult to react to new situations behind the wheel.
There are several steps that older drivers can take to ensure that they remain safe on the road for many years to come:
1. Avoid risky driving situations, such as driving at night, in bad weather, or at high speeds
2. Get your eyesight and hearing checked regularly, and use eyeglasses or hearing aids if your doctor advises it
3. Exercise regularly to keep your muscles and joints loose and pain-free
4. Plan your route before you drive, and always choose the safest, least congested route you can
Safe Driving for All Ages
No matter your age, safe driving is always within your reach. Drivers young and old have every reason to learn about the common mistakes people in their age group make and then avoid these mistakes to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. In addition to always explaining any car rental age requirements and restrictions to you, here at Auto Europe, we provide you with extensive Travel Tips and Travel Resources to make sure you are comfortable, prepared, and knowledgeable before driving in a foreign country. Renting a car in Europe is one of the best ways to experience true freedom when you travel, and we want to make your next vacation your safest, most enjoyable trip yet!