American author Mark Twain said it best, "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." However, as we get older, our eyes and reflexes may not be what they once were.
Getting older doesn't necessarily spell the end of driving, and here at IAM RoadSmart, we're keen on encouraging and empowering older drivers to enjoy the freedom of what driving and riding has to offer for as long as it's safe to do so. With that in mind, here are some of our top tips for to help older drivers feel forever young on the roads:
It’s important to get your eyes checked regularly. As we grow older our eyesight can deteriorate or change making it harder to see other road users and road signs. By having regular eye tests, older drivers can ensure that their eyesight stays within the legal limit to drive, which will make spotting hazards easier. If you know you need eye corrections, including glasses, don’t be tempted to drive without them.
Did you know everyone aged over 60 is entitled to a free eye test?
Before you leave make sure you know which routes you are taking. If you find it difficult to see in the dark, try to avoid driving at night. By planning your driving in good conditions, such as on clear, dry days, you can cut out some of the unnecessary risks of driving in wet or icy weather. If you’re travelling for more than 90 minutes, it’s worth planning regular stops as a relaxing planned stop will be much more useful than a rushed comfort break.
If you or someone you know is having difficulty driving, it may simply be that the car is not suitable. You can modify your car to help with any visual or physical ailments, such as fitting auxiliary mirrors to aid all-round vision or parking sensors. Newer cars come equipped with cameras, which can make parking and reversing easier, as well as other sensors that can alert a driver to a nearby object or vehicle before an accident occurs.
IAM RoadSmart provides a relaxed, 1-hour driving review with an expert to give you peace of mind when driving your own car.
For older drivers who may have corrected hearing or vision, keeping the vehicle free from distraction is vitally important. Ensuring full concentration on the road and prioritising hazards will result in a calmer and safer drive.
If you or your passenger has severe mobility problems, the Blue Badge scheme lets you park closer to your destination. If you’re eligible for a Blue Badge, it’s worth remembering that only you can use it and it can’t be shared with someone else.
“It’s essential to keep your car in tip top condition but equally as important to make sure you are also up to the job. Regular eyesight tests, clean and accessible glasses (I keep a spare pair in the car to make sure I can always be legal) will make sure you have the best opportunity to be safe. If driving is a problem due to your health, make an appointment with your GP. "They will try to keep you on the road while it's safe to do so but will give you good counsel if it's not."