Four practical tips for learning to drive later in life

Learning to drive later in life can feel daunting and challenging, but do not let that stop you. Here are four practical tips to ensure smooth sailing… or, rather, smooth driving.

If you didn’t learn to drive as a teenager it’s not too late! Read on for advice on how to pas your test later in life.

1) Do not become discouraged

First off, it is likely that people around you are unfairly telling you that you are too old to drive, when you may already be feeling like it is a challenging task to learn how to drive in your later years. But seriously, do not let that stop you.

Thousands of older people successfully learn to drive every year without issue. The more you do not get discouraged and maintain a positive frame of mind, the easier it will be to learn and pass your test.

So, remember: many older drivers learn later in life and you can be one of them.

2) Budget for all the costs associated with car ownership

Before you begin learning, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with all the costs associated with car ownership, as you might be surprised at how costly running a car can be.

For instance, you will need to pay for a vehicle, registration, fuel, maintenance and repairs, parking, and insurance.

With regard to the latter, it is true that new drivers pay more for car insurance than experienced drivers. However, many car insurance companies still offer competitive prices and comprehensive coverage to new drivers.

Just make sure you compare different insurers to find the best deal for new drivers insurance. As long as you budget wisely ahead of time, you can make sure you have the necessary funds in place to cover all the costs involved with running a car.

3) Take intensive driving lessons

To be successful in learning how to drive and passing your test, it is best to take regular lessons. If you take infrequent or irregular lessons, you will lower your chances of success.

However, as someone who is in their later years, it may be more difficult to find the time to take regular lessons, especially if you have work and family commitments. Therefore, consider enrolling in intensive lessons.

Not only will that allow you to designate a certain time period toward learning how to drive. It will also enable you to be more focused on learning and, therefore, you will be able to learn more quickly.

If you leave big gaps between lessons, you may forget what you learnt in the previous lesson and feel less confident getting back in the car.

But when you have frequent intensive lessons over a short period of time, you will be able to remember more of what you learnt, focus more of your energy on your driving skills, and gain more confidence behind the wheel.

You could complete intensive lessons at weekends and each evening of the working week. Alternatively, it could be a good idea to take holiday time, if you are still working, and use that time to spend solely on learning how to drive.

4) Limber up before lessons

One thing that many older drivers overlook is how much they could potentially experience muscle and joint pains when sitting in the driving seat for prolonged periods of time.

If you are particularly prone to problems with your joints and muscles as you grow older, sitting in a driver’s seat and using arm and leg muscles that you are not used to using, pain management becomes even more important.

Therefore, make sure you stretch and limber up before each lesson. Also, if you are susceptible to things like joint, neck, and back pain, make your driving instructor aware so that you can schedule breaks.

Photo by Samuel Foster