Talking about giving up driving can be an emotionally charged topic – especially when for some, it means giving up independence.
But while hanging up their car keys can be a major milestone in an older person’s life – it does not signal the end of a busy and fulfilling life. When a person does stop driving it is often best to refer to this as retiring from driving.
Understandably, friends and families can be reluctant to raise the issue, especially if the older person is fiercely protective of their independence. That said, we all respond better when advice is coming from someone we trust so often families and friends will have the best influence on the way that an older driver sees their future behind the wheel.
Age alone is never reason enough to give something up or getting help, but if you’re concerned about an older friend or relative, or they’ve shown some of the following signs, it may be a good time to talk to them about their driving:
- Slower reaction times
- Difficulty in turning to see when reversing
- Keeping a foot on the brake
- Other drivers sounding their horns at them
- Incorrect signals
- Hitting the kerb
- Trouble making turns
- Confusion at exits
- Over-revving the engine, especially on low-speed manoeuvres
- Difficulties with low-light or night-time driving
- Avoidance of driving to new or unfamiliar places
- Look out for scrapes and dents in the car
Sitting down and discussing the issues now could potentially prevent the situation becoming worse or resulting in an accident. Again, just because the older person in your life may be having problems with their driving, that’s not to say stopping is the answer.
How can they stay safe on the road?
There are four simple things you can do to help them carry on driving safely for longer:
- Make sure they have regular eyesight tests with an optician – See our page on eyesight for more information – Click here
- Ensure they visit their doctor and seek medical advice relating to any medication they may be taking which could affect their driving – Click here for more information
- Do they have a medical condition. There are certain conditions which must be notified to the DVLA. To find out more on this Click here
- Undertake a voluntary appraisal of their driving. We all pick up bad habits, and it is a great way to brush up on skills and carry on driving safely for longer. When was the last time any of us have someone appraise our driving? It’s fun and can really build confidence. Visit our courses page to find out what is available for their needs. Click here
Brochures and Videos
Below are two excellent brochures you can download giving advice on ‘Driving safely for life’ and another on ‘Managing without a Car’. These are a great way to open a conversation.
We also have a series of videos about driving, giving helpful tips and how to speak to a loved one about driving. More on this below.
We have worked with Rica, an independent research charity who publishes practical consumer information, to create an informative brochure titled ‘Driving Safely for Life’ which is a guide on keeping safe and driving for as long as possible. This guide is designed to help older drivers think about their driving and make the right decisions to stay safe and independent. It gives advice on how to continue driving safely and comfortably, to help older drivers stay on the road for as long as possible
This is available for you to download and read –
The schemes are led by Approved Driving Instructors and each assessment includes:
- Full consultation
- Professional advice
- Assessment in driver’s own vehicle – or a dual-controlled car (Driving Mobility Assessments)
- Range of adaptations to try
- Detailed feedback
- Written report
Managing without a car
If you surrender your driving licence, are unable to drive because of ill-health or are contemplating giving up driving, you need to know what options are available to you to help get around and what organisations are on hand to assist.
Drivers of any age who travel less than 2000 miles a year are more at risk of having a collision than others. For those who do drive less than 2000 miles a year then it has been shown cheaper to use a taxi, even if you live in the country. The cost of using a taxi over a year is cheaper than paying for insurance, tax, petrol and maintenance of the vehicle.
The Older Drivers Forum have created a brochure to help you get around without a car. It may be easier than you think….
The brochure gives suggestions and local information on ‘Managing with out a Car’ in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Dorset and the Thames Valley whilst still having independence and enjoying life.
To find the various ‘Managing Without a Car’ brochure then click here, then just click on the right one, download and read.
The Older Drivers Forum have created a number of helpful videos for Older Drivers and their family and friends, why not have a look at the videos page by clicking here
Additionally why not visit ‘Still Safe to Drive‘ which is a web site created from GEM Motoring Assist, which is the UK’s leading driving-based road safety association.
The below video is directed towards Family and Friends and how to have that conversation with a loved one.
This web site shows three informative videos featuring broadcaster Valerie Singleton and covers subjects such as:
1) The process of ageing: essential information for drivers – Click to view video
2) Stay as safe as possible for as long as possible: top tips for staying mobile and reducing risk – Click to view video
3) Conversations about giving up driving: three families share their experiences
– Click here to view video