Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Older drivers - Driving safely for life

Are you an older driver?

If you're looking to the future and considering how to stay safe and independent, then this information is for you. Rica's consumer information aimed at older and disabled people and based on independent research, is completely unbiased.

In 2013, we held focus groups with older drivers and their relatives and consulted with experts on road safety to produce some guidance.

an older man standing at the driver's door of a car, holding a car key up

Download a pdf: Driving safely for life (PDF). Or you can receive printed publications by post (UK only).

For most people, driving is part of life. Most of us drive every week if not every day and we enjoy driving as much as we rely on it.

Woman wearing red coat driving

"It's my freedom, my independence"

"My family are all so far away"

"I've got to drive, I take my wife to her hospital appointments"

"I love driving. I've always had this zest for wanting to drive."

 

Driving and safety

Just about everything involves risk and motoring is no exception. By understanding the risk and taking steps to minimise it you can help keep yourself and others safe.

Things to think about

Heavy traffic on the M6 motorway

  • driving conditions: time of day, weather, road layout and surface, other road users
  • your car: maintenance, design and safety features, accessories and equipment
  • yourself: refresher training, experience, health and capabilities and even your mood

You can read more about driving safely here.

Driving and age

Age UK have useful guidance on driving for older people on this page. They also have a print guide.

Older drivers

  • often will have long records of safe driving
  • in the statistics show that drivers over 55 years old are the least likely to be involved in an accident
  • have greater chances of being seriously injured for those over 65 as frailer and more vulnerable.

However, the roads are very different these days with more cars driving faster and more aggressively and new road layouts like multi-lane junctions that some drivers find confusing. Drivers have particular difficulty with junctions, merging traffic, right turns and busy roads.

Many people find their abilities change as they get older, especially if they have health problems, and these changes may affect the way you drive.

Some new technology available can help:

 

Acknowledgements: This guide was researched and written by Rica, with funding from the Department for Transport, the RAC Foundation and the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund and in partnership with the Forum of Mobility Centres, PACTS and the Gifford Partnership.

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