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Older drivers

Many people pass their driving test when they are young, and this licence to drive stays with that person until they choose to stop driving - in to old age. Being able to drive gives a person freedom to travel and independence, whether that be to go shopping or to visit friends and relatives. Most people, especially when their partner has passed away, depend on their ability to drive to enable them to continue doing what they need to do.

However, as we get older our state of health can change and affect our ability to drive. One area of decline is our eyesight, which is crucial for reading road signs, making judgements and driving safely. Heard the expression, ´the mind is strong but the body is weak´? Well, for some people this is very true as they are still sharp as a button and able to make sound judgements but their reaction times are slower or weaker because of slower reflexes and joint ache. Hearing can also become a problem, which can hinder a person´s ability to respond to sirens or other road users and medication can also affect a person by making them drowsy or tired, again affecting their reaction times.

So when you are out driving and you notice an elderly person driving in front, be patient. Don´t react negatively towards them and cause them added pressure. Give them space and time and be mindful. Hopefully, you´ll be old one day too and you´ll appreciate the patience of others as you try to retain your independence and freedom into your later years.

Motor skills: muscles weaken and reflexes slow, making movement a lot harder.

Hearing: with impaired hearing, being alert to sirens or other road users becomes affected.
Vision deterioration: any vision loss will affect your driving ability. Reaction time: reacting to situations on the road, such as pedestrians walking out or a car suddenly braking will become decreased.
Medication: many older people take various medications which can result in drowsiness, confusion or slower reaction times.