Driving is more complex and demanding than it used to be. There’s considerably more traffic on the road and motorists have to process more and more information as they drive.
Many older motorists bring a wealth of experience, confidence and tolerance to their driving, all of which contributes to making them safer on the road than other age groups. However, as you grow older the ability to interpret the movements and intentions of other drivers and react to situations gradually changes. Sight, hearing and judgement of speed may not be quite as sharp as they were when you were younger.
Here are a few tips to help you stay safe:
• Reduce your stress levels – if you are retired, you could travel outside peak times.
• Travelling makes us tired, this can lead to accidents.
• Pamper yourself by taking frequent breaks during your journey.
• Check with your doctor or chemist about the effects of any medicines, prescribed or purchased. They could affect your driving.
• Plan your route in advance so that you can cope better with the journey ahead.
• Take extra care at night or in bad weather. Try to avoid these times if possible.
• Get your eyesight checked regularly. For people aged over 60 years, sight tests are available free of charge every two years, and more frequently for the over 70s and people with certain medical conditions. Check with your optician for more details.
More advice and help
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) offers a Mature Driver’s Assessment (current fee £35) for motorists aged over 70 years. The assessment comprises a 60-minute drive with an IAM-approved assessor, in the candidate’s own vehicle and on routes with which they are familiar. At the end they are given immediate feedback and a confidential written report giving advice on what action, if any, the driver needs to take.
A series of videos, presented by Valerie Singleton, created to help mature drivers stay as safe as possible for as long as possible, and to help families have the conversation about when might be the right time to stop driving.
The Older Drivers Forum is about keeping mature motorists on the road safely for longer. Whether that’s through practical and informative help and support, or pointing you in the right direction for an assessment to identify your driving needs, the Forum is here to help.
Been driving for many years, but want re-assurance that you are still capable behind the wheel? RoSPA’s examiners will give you their honest opinion.