Useful advice for all car drivers

There are several potential causes for individuals to struggle when behind the wheel. We provide helpful hints so that they can drive safely and enjoy their autos.

It doesn’t matter how much experience you have behind the wheel; there will eventually come a time when driving will become more challenging for you. Whether it’s because you’re having trouble working the controls or you’ve just had your confidence rocked, this article offers a number of helpful recommendations that can assist you in continuing to drive in a comfortable and safe manner for as long as possible.

Make sure the driver is a good fit for the car.

If modifications are either impossible or insufficient, drivers may want to think about upgrading to a different type of vehicle, possibly one that is more compact and simpler to manoeuvre, or one that offers a higher seating position that provides a better perspective of the road. It is possible that this will incur some additional costs; however, in the long run, this may prove to be an investment that was well worth it in order to maintain mobility, as having the appropriate automobile can often make a huge difference.

Modifications to vehicles that could be of assistance

It is possible to make adaptations that are more complex and specific, such as installing hand controls to use instead of foot pedals, pedals that have been specially shaped, “spinners” to reduce the amount of effort needed to turn a steering wheel, tiller or joystick steering, and hoists and seat-lifts to make it easier to get in and out of the car. The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers has a publication that provides an in-depth guide to these, as well as a list of suppliers and fitters (RiDC). RiDC is a charitable organisation that focuses on conducting market research for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities. Their website contains a number of helpful instructions, including advice on how to select and locate the appropriate automobile, as well as a discussion of the various customization choices that may be made to an existing vehicle.

Drivers who are thinking about making modifications to their vehicle or purchasing a vehicle that is designed specifically to fit their requirements should get evaluated at a Driving Mobility centre first. These are separate organisations, but they are recognised by both the DVLA and the Motability scheme. Motability is a programme through which disabled individuals can lease a new car, scooter, or powered wheelchair with the higher rate mobility component of their Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or the enhanced rate of the mobility component of their Personal Independence Payment (PIP). These payments are known as “mobility allowances.”

Take a look at our guide on how to buy a Motability car if you want more information about the Motability scheme and the types of cars that are available to purchase or lease through the programme.

Satellite navigation
It can be a trying experience to try to travel in new or unknown regions, and those who are more literate in technology may find that using satellite navigation, which provides turn-by-turn voice instructions and/or dashboard displays, can help them get to their destination more quickly and easily. Devices that can be added to the car are available, even though many newer models already have this feature built in as standard equipment.

For additional information, have a look at our buying guide for satellite navigation systems. Downloadable navigation programmes are also available for use on smartphones. These apps can be used while driving if the phone is held in a cradle that is attached to the dashboard.

Evaluations of driving ability
People of a certain age can go to a Driving Mobility centre to acquire information, counselling, and an evaluation on their ability to drive in relation to medical illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or in relation to returning to driving after having an illness, injury, or accident.

Assessments, guidance, and driver training are some of the other services that may be obtained from organisations and charities like as the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People. Even the most self-assured driver could profit from attending a refresher course once in a while; very few drivers, regardless of age, can say that they have never been put in a position when they questioned their own self-assurance.

When we acquired our driver’s licence, we learned a lot of important information, but it’s amazing how easy it is to forget some of that information or to slip into dangerous habits. The simplest method to regain some self-assurance and to brush up on vital skills is often to spend a few hours with an experienced and qualified driving teacher.

There is no “passing” or “failing” grade associated with taking one of these refresher courses. They are only there to offer extra training and support, but they can be a very helpful initial step in determining whether or not a person is safe behind the wheel.

Conditions of a medical nature that can impair one’s ability to drive safely

The following is a list of some of the more frequent age-related medical issues that may influence a person’s ability to drive safely. Drivers have a legal obligation to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if they have any health conditions, including issues with their eyesight, that could have an impact on their ability to drive safely (and could invalidate their car insurance).

On the website of the government of the United Kingdom, you may find a complete list of these requirements. In Northern Ireland, the regulations regarding certain medical conditions could be slightly different. Visit the website at nidirect.gov.uk for any more details you may require.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes swelling, stiffness, and discomfort in the joints. It can manifest in a number of the body’s joints, although the hands, feet, back, hips, and knees are the most prevalent locations for this condition. Joints that are affected by arthritis will have reduced mobility, which can cause difficulties in a number of different areas of driving (see useful tips for older drivers).

Alzheimer’s and dementia

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia disrupt the way in which the brain functions, which can lead to forgetfulness and disorientation in affected individuals. People who have Alzheimer’s disease frequently are not aware of their own state. As a result, they may believe that they are completely safe to drive, despite the fact that they could be putting themselves (and others) in a precarious situation if they do so. This is an additional risk.

Diabetes

Despite the fact that diabetes can be managed in many situations, those who have the condition are at risk of experiencing bouts of drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. Diabetes can sometimes bring on other symptoms as well, such as seizures or a loss of consciousness.

Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is characterised by a wide variety of symptoms, the extent and severity of which can vary considerably from patient to patient. ‘Motor’ symptoms are rather frequent and might include tremors, slowness of movement, and stiffness – any of which could make it difficult to react quickly and effectively when driving. ‘Motor’ symptoms often impact movement.

Stroke

Stroke can have a wide range of symptoms, from difficulties with vision and memory to partial paralysis in some cases. People who are recuperating from a stroke don’t always understand the full degree of their condition and the limitations that come along with it. This is something that can happen sometimes.