According to NZTA statistics, older drivers are involved in fewer crashes than other age groups. They tend to drive conservatively, travel fewer kilometres than other drivers and restrict their driving to times and situations in which they feel safe.
While older drivers don’t have as many crashes, they and older passengers, if involved in a crash, are more at risk of being seriously injured or killed because of their physical vulnerability.
Illness and changes that are more common with age increase the risk of older drivers being involved in a crash. These changes may be physical or they may be changes to memory and thinking. How can you support your older person to remain confident driving?
Sharing the load
- Offer your friend or relative a lift when they don’t feel confident driving (for example, if they need to drive out of their local area, or after dark).
- If they find supermarket car parks a challenge, you could do your shopping together. This way, you’re providing both transport and company. You could also do some research to find out which local shops will do home delivery. You could help your friend or relative with online shopping too – perhaps even offer them a spare computer if they don’t already have one.
Choosing a car
Some driving problems may be helped by car safety features. If your friend or relative is looking for a new car, you could offer to go with them. Safety features could include:
- automatic transmission
- power steering
- an antilock braking system (ABS)
- large mirrors to cover blind spots.
If your friend or relative is planning to move house, you could offer to help with the search. Discuss what they need to look for. For example:
- Can they walk or take the bus to shops, library, doctor’s rooms, church or other community facilities?
- Are there good footpaths, street lighting and pedestrian crossings?
- Do friends and family live nearby?
- Is it close to the shops?
If you think it might be a good idea to refresh your knowledge about the road code brush up on your driving skills click here to find a local workshop.