According to the charity Independent Age, 91% of older drivers believe they would lose their independence if their driving licence was taken away from them.
Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said: “For many older people, being able to drive means so much more than just being able to get out-and-about.
“Whether it’s keeping in touch with family and friends or continuing to do their shopping, driving can help maintain a sense of independence, and identity too.”
If your loved-one is an elderly driver, there are a number of precautions they can take to make sure they’re still safe on the roads.
Get your eyes and ears tested regularly
Even if you’re loved one isn’t experiencing any sight or hearing problems, it’s important they still get checked regularly as changes can happen gradually without the person realising and can therefore impact on their driving.
Do regular exercise
Exercising regularly will keep joints from going stiff and keep muscles strong, allowing you to look in both directions, change gear and apply pressure to the vehicle’s pedals. If you’re loved one is mobile enough, then brisk walks, cycling and a regular daily exercise regime is a great way to get the heart pumping. If they’re less mobile, then swimming or gentle stretches every day are great alternatives.
Plan journeys thoroughly
Mornings and evenings are the busiest times of the day on the roads, so try to plan journeys around them. Also try to plan which route to take and ensure it’s one that you/your loved-one is comfortable with and knows well.
Try to avoid driving at night, as night vision decreases with age and also try to avoid driving in bad weather.
Plan where to stop for breaks if it’s a long journey as The Highway Code recommends a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving.
Get a professional opinion
The best thing your loved-one can do is get a professional opinion. If you’ve recently been watching ITV’s 100-year-old Driving School, featuring some of Britain’s oldest motorists, you will see them receiving a driving assessment to make sure they’re still safe on the road.
It’s a good idea for a loved-one to undertake an assessment if you/they are unsure if they should still be driving. An assessor will advise on what skills need working on and produce a report at the end of the session.
If your loved-one is no longer able to drive and get out-and-about for themselves, then as part of our care plans, we can provide carers to help or complete chores for them. Just get in touch to discuss more options.