There are a number of things that you can do to help prolong your driving experience:
As failing sight can be a gradual process and may go unnoticed, it's important that eyesight is tested at least once a year. This will not only ensure that the right glasses or contact lenses are worn for driving, it can also flag up common age related vision problems such as cataracts and glaucoma which can greatly reduce your ability to see clearly; especially when driving at night or in bad weather conditions.
If a hearing aid is normally worn at home, it should always be worn when driving as any kind of sensory loss can lead to feelings of confusion and disconnection with what's happening around you.
When driving at night, the first rule is to wear an up-to-date pair of distance glasses or contact lenses recommended by your Optometrist. Never use tinted lenses such as red or amber as they can filter out traffic lights, brake lights and indicators of cars in front.
Make sure headlights, brake lights, indicators are all working and don't forget to keep the windscreen clean and clear, both inside and out.
Powers of concentration can decrease with age, so it’s helpful to avoid distractions when driving, especially at times needed to negotiate busy junctions. Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal and even using hands-free can distract attention away from the road ahead and traffic conditions around you.
This is particularly important when driving to an unfamiliar destination and don't know the road. Even when driving close to home, it’s best to take extra care at busy roundabouts, turning right at road junctions or joining moving traffic from a slip road as these are when collisions are most likely to occur.
When travelling greater distances to unfamiliar places, a satellite navigation system (SATNAV) can be really useful. This inexpensive accessory can help remove much of the stress in driving.
Own up to certain driving activities that are not quite as easy as they used to be. If problems are experienced such as difficulty in gripping the steering wheel or working other controls, you can ask your doctor to refer you to an occupational therapist who may suggest particular aids and accessories to help make driving easier. And it's not only your own safety you should be thinking about - consider passengers - precious grandchildren, family and friends - and be aware of the danger you might pose to other road users if you try to ignore it, as tempting as that might be.
Daily physical activity like walking, cycling or swimming help keep joints supple and will improve strength and flexibility. This can help address common problem areas such as turning the steering wheel or looking over your shoulder. Regular exercise also helps to sharpen mental agility and powers of concentration too.
Reflexes can slow down as you get older, without you often being aware of it so it can be helpful to allow a little more time and space to react to any unexpected situation. It’s good to keep speed down and adopt defensive driving tactics such as leaving plenty of room between you and the car in front.
The motoring scene has changed beyond recognition since most of you passed your test so it can be beneficial to take a refresher course designed specifically to help enhance your driving skills and your knowledge of the law. Not only will this help reduce the possibility of being involved in a collision; you may also get a handy discount on your car insurance policy. Refresher courses are now available through most driving schools as well as respected national organisations such as the and . We can also provide further help and advice.