Today’s roads are busier than ever and, for some older drivers, driving has a become a worrying if necessary challenge.
Practical advice for Older drivers
To help you through some of the more stressful aspects, please find below a list of practical activities that you can employ to reassure yourself and perhaps even make driving enjoyable again:
- When you return to your parked car take a quick look around it before you get in. Make a mental note of how much room you have to make it easier to get out of your space safely
- Nobody likes to be tail-gated. Make sure you have at least a two second gap ahead of you. This means you won’t have to break suddenly if something develops in front of you. You could simply slow down and let the space in front of you expand or, if you are the one being tail-gated, try going around a roundabout twice, which should mean the tail-gater has moved on.However, if the tailgater causes you real concerns for your personal safety, pull into a petrol station forecourt – most have CCTV – and stop as near to the door or pay point as possible. If you can’t find a petrol station easily, try to find a well lit public place with people present
- Check your rear view mirror often when driving on the motorway. You need to know what is behind as well as in front of you, especially if you are planning an overtake manoeuvre
- Be careful if you suffer from glaucoma, or are susceptible to glare when you drive at night, as it could distort your vision. Also, as we get older, our eyes can take up to nine times longer to adjust to changes in light levels
- If you have difficulty getting in and out of your car then perhaps a tall and small car would suit you better. Ask your garage if you can test drive it first
- If you find it difficult to change gears due to arthritis, then perhaps an automatic car would suit you better. Again, ask your garage if you can test drive it first
- Book a short driver refresher session with an Approved Driver Instructor; it could make a huge difference to your driving, might make you feel more confident and, as a result make driving more enjoyable again
Somerset Road Safety hold regular Route 60+ events for clubs and community groups, both public and closed, which address the ways in which cars and driving have changed over the years and how to help keep drivers stay safer on the roads for longer.
If you have concerns about your driving due to health issues, your GP can refer you to our Road Assured scheme. Click here for more information.
RoSPA’s website Older Drivers is a great all-round resource to help advise you on how to stay driving for longer, and what to do if you think you may need reduce or even give up driving. With plenty of tips on alternatives, it’s a useful tool to help you plan ahead for any changes in the future.Route 60+ RoSPA's advice for older drivers Driving and Mobility Centre IAM Roadsmart Older Drivers Forum