Driving is an essential part of independence and social interaction and in rural areas in particular is an essential support to the rural lifestyle. Even in urban areas, as personal mobility declines with age, the importance of driving often increases.
Drivers are often concerned about coping with the demands of driving as they get older and sometimes experience a loss of confidence in their abilities. While there is a point in many peoples lives where the decision to stop driving is the appropriate one, this may not be the case and drivers and their families might be well advised to seek professional assistance before coming to such a major life decision. The Disabled Drivers Association offer a driving assessment service, which seeks to assist older drivers, their families or medical practitioners make informed decisions about continuing to drive. An assessment can serve to put the minds of others at ease or suggest ways that the driving task can be made a more comfortable experience for the older driver.
Confidence is an integral part of competent driving and many drivers may find their driving years extended by improving their driving skills to meet the demands of today’s modern infrastructure. An older person may choose to engage in a course of driving lessons to refresh their skills and knowledge as more complex road systems extend around the country.
Others may find that the driving task is eased by assistive technology; such as specialist mirrors, electric handbrake, push button start. Simply moving to automatic transmission or choosing a car with better access or a better seating position may provide a more convenient, comfortable, safer form of driving.
An older person, who may never have driven or may not have driven for a period of time, possibly through reliance on a partner, may wish learn anew or to restore confidence to enable them to drive regularly.
The Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland is there to assist older drivers by conducting driving assessments, providing information on assistive technology and appropriate vehicle choice or providing refresher courses of instruction of the kind described above.