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New website provides advice for relatives of older drivers

25 October 2013

 A new website has been set up to encourage relatives of elderly drivers to do their research before having potentially sensitive conversations about giving up driving.The site has been created by GEM Motoring Assist and contains a suite of videos that cover topics connected with ageing, staying safe, and how to adapt to changes in mobility.

Professor Andrew Parkes, TRL chief scientist and one of the UK’s top driver behaviour experts, says that elderly drivers can feel defensive about their driving and any criticism of it.

Professor Parkes said: “I was recently in a car driven by my father for the first for 10 years. I noticed how his style of driving had changed; he was driving much faster, much more aggressively and assertively.

“I reacted by expressing my surprise and then trying to make a joke out it, which probably made him feel even more defensive about his driving.”

Professor Parkes says that talking to an elderly relative about driving – especially if the goal is to get that person to hang up the car keys – needs to be part of a properly planned approach.

He added: “With the benefit of hindsight I should not have said anything to my father immediately. It would have been much more helpful to come back to the subject when I had lined up some sensible ideas to help him, rather than simply expressing surprise and concern at his driving style.