Lendrums Driving School Blog
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Learning to Drive In Later Life: Tips and Myths
Many people falsely assume that learning to drive later in life is more dangerous than learning as a teenager. In reality, while it takes older drivers some time to grow accustomed to the rules of the road, they are just as capable of learning to drive as teenage drivers. With some help from the right driving instructor, learning to drive as an OAP can open up a range of new, exciting paths without risking personal safety.
Benefits of New-Adult Driving
Driving can radically improve people’s daily lives for both convenience and peace of mind, regardless of age. Even if you don’t have regular access to a car, learning to drive and obtaining a driver’s license allows you to partake in one of the eco-car sharing networks across the UK. Driving also opens up the possibility of renting a car when you travel abroad, which is often essential for more remote travel destinations. And for UK citizens, obtaining a driver’s license is a good idea to secure proper identification without carrying around a passport during day-to-day activity.
Technology for New Drivers
Recent technological advances have broadened possibilities for new OAP drivers. A rush of new smartphone apps enables safe driving not only via GPS systems, but also with apps to curb bad driving habits and even find new parking spaces. New technologies are crucial to foster independence in senior citizens, and driving is no exception. Using a GPS, for instance, omits the necessity of having to ask someone for directions or even tuning the radio to check local traffic.
Driving Strategies and Preparation
Learning to drive as an OAP will change the way you perceive the roads around you. Begin by paying attention to the drivers you share rides with and noticing how they navigate traffic and the rules of the road. Next, familiarise yourself with the UK’s rules for new driving in regards to driving instructors and insurance policies. Family or friends can offer driving lessons, but it’s often a good idea to seek professional help from a driving instructor if the thought of learning to drive at an old age has you feeling apprehensive.
For older adults, learning to drive may feel like a daunting task, but it is certainly an attainable one. With the right preparation and technology, OAP’s can regain their independence through driving and choosing their own destination.
We would like to thank Jennifer Dawson for this article and also Simone Acquaroli for use of the picture.
NEARLY A FIFTH OF DRIVERS NEVER USE THE MOTORWAY
17% of drivers never use the motorway as a means of travel, according to a new OnePoll survey of 2,000 UK drivers.
The survey, commissioned by InsuretheGap.com, a new independent provider of GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance, found that women (22%) were nearly twice as likely than men (12%) to stay away from motorways.
Of the respondents that said they never drive on motorways, 34% said they avoided the motorway because they didn’t feel safe driving on it. This is despite the fact that, statistically at least, motorways are safer than other roads.
26 to 35-year olds were most likely to cite safety concerns as the reason they didn’t use motorways (41%), followed by 60+ (36%) and 17 to 25-year olds (32%).
From the 4th June 2018, learner drivers in England, Scotland and Wales were allowed to take lessons on the motorway, giving them an early exposure of motorway driving, something that would previously happen only after you had passed your test.
According to the Government website, the idea behind this initiative is to ‘improve [drivers’] confidence to drive on the motorway unsupervised after passing their driving test’ and to ‘help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely’.
Ben Wooltorton, Chief Operating Officer of InsuretheGap.com, said: “The change to allow learner drivers to drive on motorways whilst accompanied by a qualified instructor is a positive step to help them feel comfortable in what can be a challenging driving environment. The fact that over a third of people who avoided motorways said they did so due to safety concerns suggests this is something that is long overdue, despite motorways being some of the safest roads to drive on based on accident numbers. It will be interesting to see if these statistics change in a few years’ time once motorway lessons are established as a key part of learning to drive.”
You’ll Never Forget Your First Car - So Choose it Wisely
If you’ve just joined the 800,000 or so people who pass their driving test in the UK every year, then congratulations! You will be relishing the sense of freedom and independence that it gives, and will doubtless be impatient to get your very first set of wheels.
Anybody’s first car is a big deal, and whether it is brand new out of the showroom or it has already seen a great deal of life and bears the scars to prove it, one thing is for sure - it is a car that you will never forget!
Preparing for the road ahead
Passing your test is just the first step on the way to becoming a safe and accomplished driver, so before you sever your ties with the driving school, it’s worth having a chat with your driving instructor about the choice of vehicles on the market, and maybe even having some advanced tuition to really get the feel of your new wheels. First, however, you need to get those keys in your hand - so what are the factors you need to consider when choosing your car?
Work out your budget
It sounds boring, but we are all subject to budgetary constraints. You can get a good car for £800 and you can get a good car for £8,000. But until you know exactly what your budget is, it’s pointless to even start looking.
Of course, purchase price is only the first part of the cost. You’ve also got to factor in road tax, maintenance and that subject that is most feared by new drivers, insurance cost.
How to minimise insurance cost
Don’t underestimate how much insurance can come to. A teenager could go out and buy that £800 car, only to find the insurance will cost them another £2,000 or more. However, there are ways to keep the cost down. Taking that advanced driving course will show insurers you are serious, and they will see you as a lower risk and adjust your premium accordingly. You could also look into companies that provide reduced rates for young drivers who agree to having a black box in their car, or to follow a “curfew” whereby they will not drive during certain hours, typically in the middle of the night.
Choose a car that will keep on teaching you
As a new driver, you will still be learning every day. Choose a car that will help you do just that. Don’t go for something with power-everything and lots of driver aids. Simple doesn’t have to mean boring, however. One of the best learning experiences you can have is by driving an older car, and many new drivers choose a popular classic such as a VW Beetle, Morris Minor or classic Mini.
One thing is for sure, you will stand out from your friends, and you will definitely have a first car you will never forget. Drive safely out there.
Kindly written and supplied by JENNIFER DAWSON.