There comes a moment for many of us, in which we begin to realise that it is time for us, or a loved one, to retire from driving. While the thought can be a little intimidating, safety on the road is an absolute priority and adapting to life without getting behind the wheel can be much easier than you might imagine.
Perhaps friends or family have expressed concern, or perhaps you yourself have the sense that your driving is changing. Consider if you are feeling more anxious behind the wheel than you used to, are losing focus or getting lost more easily. Have you had any near misses in the car? Your eyesight may not be what it was, or you may be having difficulty judging distance and speed. Some medical conditions may affect our driving ability, or we may find our reaction times are getting longer. Whatever your cause for concern; the first step is to arrange an appointment with your doctor to discuss your experiences. Your doctor is used to helping patients navigate this process, and will not advise you to stop driving unless they are certain it is the correct decision.
Putting It Off
It can be tempting to avoid thinking about consequences in relation to an issue that is difficult to address, but we must think carefully about the risks of staying on the road when we are not able to drive in perfect capacity. If you have an accident and it appears that you are no longer at your best behind the wheel, your insurance may not cover you and you may risk being fined or even prosecuted. The dangers of the road include everything from damage to your car or someone else’s property, through to the injury or death of you, your passenger, a pedestrian or another driver. Staying on the road is really not worth these sorts of risks, so have the confidence to explore your concerns. You can feel certain that you are making wise and informed decisions and keeping your independence in your own hands by simply taking a new approach.
Getting To Know Public Transport
Public transport options are getting more and more advanced these days. You might not realise the diversity of possibilities available to you. Your local bus services, national coach services and train services will all offer season passes and discounts for older customers, those with disabilities and customers who need to travel with a companion. Taxi companies usually allow you to set up an account so you can build a trusting relationship with drivers, and many offer discounts to regular customers too.
Explore Which Schemes Are Available In Your Area
Many local councils or charity groups offer mobility schemes that can make life easier for local residents. There may be free transport services available in your area that can even pick you up from home. There could be car sharing schemes that mean you can hop in with other local residents and contribute a little to the costs of the journey. Some town centres have shop-mobility schemes, aimed at those having difficulty on their feet, offering free use of equipment such as mobility scooters so you can easily have a browse about town.
Save Money Without The Car
We might mistakenly imagine that public transport will be too expensive without recognising how much we spend on fuel, car tax and insurance. If we consider that we could sell our car and add that revenue to the savings from not using it, using alternative transport could work out to be not only affordable but cheaper!
Getting About Over Smaller Distances
If you are unable to drive but still feeling physically fit, choosing to get about on foot or even on a bicycle can offer a new form of freedom and a fitness boost that will improve your mental and physical well-being no end! If you are unable to walk long distances, you might consider investing in a mobility scooter for comfortable independence.
Reaching Out To Family And Friends
Ask a loved one to help you explore public transport options, and don’t be afraid to initiate a ride-sharing scheme of your own! Often those close to us are making trips to the grocery store or into town anyway. Coordinating with others is easier than we imagine, and often those who care about us are happy to help. You can always contribute with a bit of fuel money, or purchase a round of tea to say thank you! Enjoy spending time together along the way.
Adjusting to getting where we want to go without a car primarily means being a little more organised and planning ahead. Once we develop the new routine of anticipating where and when we want to go, planning public transport routes or booking in with a taxi company or transport scheme becomes a doddle. It’s simply a case of perspective!
Using Technology To Make Life Easier
It is truly amazing what we can achieve from the comfort of our own home. Most supermarkets now offer home delivery. You can simply select and pay for your shopping on their website and have it delivered to your doorstep, sidestepping needless parking nightmares, queuing and carrying heavy bags. You can also use online video-chat platforms like Skype and Face Time to have face-to-face catch ups with loved ones while sipping tea on your respective sofas. Even transport can be booked using apps on your smartphone or tablet. Don’t be afraid to explore the ways in which modern technology can make your life more convenient. Remember, while new tools can take a while to master, all of these resources are designed with the user in mind so you will probably master it faster than you think.
What To Do When It Is Time To Relinquish Your Licence
Whether you or your doctor decides that it is time for you to stop driving, the next step is to surrender your driver’s licence to the DVLA who are responsible for keeping track of everyone on the road in the UK. You can find more information on the gov.uk website and the forms you need to complete can be found and downloaded online here.