Driving is something that most people expect to be able to do until the very end of their lives. Sometimes this can happen, and other times, the ageing process can lead to physical and mental changes that can impact safety with driving.
Most older drivers today learned to drive in a time when road conditions, road rules, and road risks were extremely different. Many older drivers never had driving lessons, and some even drove unlicensed until the local cop finally had them come down to the station to pick up a real license.
Today, the road environment and the rules around driving are drastically different. The process by which one has to get a license is stringent and specific, and ALL people wishing to get a new license must go through rigorous testing procedures set-up in each state of Australia. Luckily, older drivers already have a license….BUT, the problem is, many older drivers let time pass without ever educating themselves on what has changed, and therefore don’t keep up with the current rules and required skills and knowledge to drive safely on today’s roads.
It is extremely important that older drivers remain aware of the driving rules and skills of today, as these requirements remain the same for every person holding a license. NO MATTER when it was that you got your license in the first place. You need to be able to show that you have the skills that will keep you safe driving in our current world. Furthermore, if you are not able to go on demonstrating these skills, you don’t meet the licensing standards in the eyes of the law.
It is a great idea as you get older to keep your knowledge current by reading information provided on transport authority websites. For those who prefer less internet time, booklets are available at service centres that you can take and read, to refresh your knowledge of current road laws and required skills. Additionally, it is advisable that all older drivers read ‘The Road Ahead’ (click for link), which is a resource that has been developed to help you manage your expectations around continuing to drive as you get older. Reading this will help you to understand if your doctor ever tells you it’s time for a driving assessment.
As you age, you may not always be aware of the ways in which you body and brain are slowly changing. These changes may have an impact on your driving, and they may not. Our role, and our legal obligation, is to use our expert knowledge (along with your doctor) to make sure these changes are not affecting your safety. If you have questions about your own driving as you get older, give us a call for a chat.