Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Driving Refresher Course for over Seventies

(62 Posts)
Patsy70 Wed 28-Jul-21 21:37:33

Hello everyone. I’m considering taking a refresher driving course as I’m not as confident recently when driving on motorways or in unfamiliar areas. If it works, it would enable me to be more independent, doing things that my OH is not so keen to do. Has anyone else of my age taken one of these courses?

MoorlandMooner Wed 28-Jul-21 21:46:08

I haven't but would be very interested to hear how you get on.

I've got much less confident lately. After driving less during lockdown everything seems so fast and aggressive now I'm back out and about. I need to do something about it. Good luck, I hope it helps drive more confidently so you can do the things you love.

Lucca Wed 28-Jul-21 22:22:09

Personally I’d favour the introduction of a retest at 70 or maybe 75. When I watch some elderly people driving erratically round supermarket car parks it does worry me.

Esspee Wed 28-Jul-21 22:32:55

Too many people continue to drive when they really should not. If you are not feeling confident please get the bus.

V3ra Wed 28-Jul-21 23:57:34

My Dad didn't drive for several months after my Mum died, for various reasons.
When he moved to our town I booked him some sessions with a driving instructor I know so she could assess his driving and tell us if she felt he was ok to carry on.
She was happy to do this and it gave Dad the confidence to get back behind the wheel again.

Incidentally Patsy70 I have never been happy driving on a motorway and avoid them like the plague!

Flexagon Thu 29-Jul-21 00:21:08

<< I’m not as confident recently when driving on motorways or in unfamiliar areas. >>

Can you say a little more about the reason for this? Is it because your husband does most or all of the driving when you go out together? Or is it because you have been driving less during lockdown? Or do you think your reaction times and eyesight are not what they were?

Do you have sat nav? That should help when driving in unfamilar places. The rest is mainly about confidence. The more you drive, the more comfortable and confident you feel.

A refresher course certainly wouldn't hurt. The instructor will be honest with you about any failings or bad habits and can help correct them. Also, teaching methods have changed over the years so you may learn some new techniques.

About fifteen years after passing my driving test at 20, I did a Drive and Survive course - something my employer's fleet manager required all company car drivers to do. It was a revelation. I came out of it a much more confident driver. A refresher course may do the same for you.

kittylester Thu 29-Jul-21 07:29:34

Try that link.

Lincslass Thu 29-Jul-21 07:59:00


Personally I’d favour the introduction of a retest at 70 or maybe 75. When I watch some elderly people driving erratically round supermarket car parks it does worry me.

When I watch younger people driving through a supermarket car park like it was silverstone, that worries me. All ages have people who drive without a care for anyone else, they pull into opposite traffic because they can’t wait a few seconds for cars to turn left, red light runners, pushing in aggressively on filter lanes instead of letting alternate cars in, and speeding, always .

MoorlandMooner Thu 29-Jul-21 09:34:05


Too many people continue to drive when they really should not. If you are not feeling confident please get the bus.

We're not talking about a lack of capability or skill here.

This is a lack of confidence which could easily be remedied with a couple of hours of tuition, tips and encouragement from a professional tutor.

For many people living in rural communities there is no bus to catch. Taking responsible action to extend your driving years safely seems a good way to go.

Linclass is quite right...overconfidence is potentially as, if not more dangerous than under confidence. And I speak as someone who was overtaken yesterday on a blind bend by an idiot in a blue porsche.

faringdon59 Thu 29-Jul-21 09:39:36

Yes, I think there should be a re-test at 75.
Recently talking to a friend who knows someone who only has sight in one eye and continues to drive! Worrying!

Patsy70 Thu 29-Jul-21 12:42:32

Thank you for your responses and the link you sent kittylester. My OH drives any long journeys, whereas we used to share it at one time. My lack of confidence is probably mostly due to the last eighteen month and being more anxious about things generally. It isn’t very easy to visit places of interest using public transport, so this is my reason for considering the refresher course. The instructor can give me an honest opinion on my driving skills. Thanks again.

M0nica Thu 29-Jul-21 12:52:36

Most driving schools offer refresher courses and the Institute of Advanced Motorists offers assessment courses for the over 70s, where they will assess your driving and tell you if you have bad driving habits or are not fit to drive.

nanna8 Thu 29-Jul-21 13:23:48

I don’t like filtering on to freeways these days so I tend to stick to ordinary roads. I wouldn’t mind doing a refresher for certain things. I drive ok, never had an accident but I am not so confident about reversing , especially curved driveways. I think as you get older your spatial awareness isn’t quite as acute. I also know a poorly sighted person who drives. She is really poor at seeing things but has been allowed to keep her licence. Scary. If I saw her coming I’d pull over and let her pass.

Flexagon Thu 29-Jul-21 22:40:25

nanna8 Joining busy (UK) A roads and motorways can be nerve wracking. Not everyone will move over to the next lane to let you join even if they have plenty of space to do so.

I'm finding that my night driving vision is not as sharp as it once was. My eyes seem slower to adjust to the dazzle caused by the very bright oncoming headlights on newer cars. If they are behind me, I am thankful for the adjustable rear view mirror that dims them.

I also find the overly-elaborate design of some rear lights distracting, akin to following someone driving with their fog lights on when it isn't foggy.

Patsy70 Fri 30-Jul-21 08:48:49

I do share your misgivings, but have made the first move and will have an assessment next week. If this goes well, I will book a refresher course and take it from there. I’ll keep you posted. 🤞😊

TrendyNannie6 Fri 30-Jul-21 08:56:16

Fantastic idea patsy, good on you! Agree with farringdon59

timetogo2016 Fri 30-Jul-21 09:01:54

I think that`s a great idea Patsy70.
Good luck.

deaneke Sun 01-Aug-21 10:37:33

There used to be a scheme for when you hit 70! It stopped in our area though. I found the leaflet at the Drs surgery.
I think it’s a good idea.

pen50 Sun 01-Aug-21 10:38:34

I think it very easy to get into the habit of letting one's other half do all the driving. But it does mean that insurance premiums rise for widows...

songstress60 Sun 01-Aug-21 10:43:18

I think it's a great idea. I did not learn to drive till I was 45 years old and had NEVER been on a motorway. Four years ago I had motorway lessons but did not get on with the instrcuctor. Just make sure you get a nice empathetic teacher because mine was a real bitch. Don't tell someone to get the bus. This government are thinking of removing the free bus pass for over 65's.

Janeea Sun 01-Aug-21 10:45:06

Please let us know how it goes if you decide to, I am thinking of doing one for all the reasons that have been mentioned here

vickya Sun 01-Aug-21 10:48:24

The Institute of Advanced Motorists run a course to qualifie as one of them, but also for about £30 run an assessment which was an hour with an instructor who can point out things and say if you could do the course, test of are ok.I did hte course and didn't actually pass but got a lot of confidence and advice. Concentrating is one important thing. I did a one hour thing a few years later too and they did say I could go for the course/test but I had other stuff then.

Nannapat1 Sun 01-Aug-21 10:55:07

Lucca..' Personally I'd favour the introduction of a retest at 70....'
Gosh Lucca, how old are you?

madeleine45 Sun 01-Aug-21 11:03:05

You may find a refresher course a booster but I have been driving for more than 45 years here and abroad. I have done hospital car driving taking patients usually from very rural areas to hospital. I found that many women had been good drivers but were either put off by husbands/partners who insisted on driving all the time, or critisized their driving and often the car was chosen for the comfort of the man who was often taller. I urged women to get back to driving for their own sakes and also if there is some medical reason such as poor eyesight or a possible time in hospital for the man so that they need to be the driver, and in that situation consider changing the car to something that you feel more comfortable driving. My suggestion is to take it gently but start off looking at your map and working out a simple route to a nearby town. Do that to gain confidence and widen the scope so that you gradually feel ok driving in your own general area. The other thing that I think is very important is that when you are looking to take a longer journey to check on your map and see what other towns are on that route and even look at towns to the left and right of the route you are on. Often you see your destination signed on one roundabout and then the next one does not mention that particular place but will mention another place which if you have looked at it beforehand you will be able to see which route to follow. If you get tense allow a longer time for the journey and be prepared to just go into a layby where you can just get out and walk about a bit or look at the map again. It all makes you feel in control again and when you know the route and have some alternatives in mind in case of road works or accidents on the road ahead you will be able to have choices and that will give you confidence which will grow the more you do it. Dont listen to any negativity and whilst I agree that there are older people who do not drive well there are far more idiotic young drivers causing accidents and driving in a poor manner as the insurance details will bear out. I learnt to drive in London and then 3 weeks after I had passed my test drove to Yugoslavia. One thing that London drivers are usually better at is lane discipline and smoothly feeding in from two roads down to one. Many other places do not think about the lane discipline . Take your time go at your own speed, moving on to busier roads or longer journeys as you feel ready to do so. Choose to improve your driving skills for your own sake and dont let yourself be put off by partners . If they start to complain go out without them until you feel more confident. In rural areas it is not really an option but a necessity to be able to drive to get around, so brush up your skills and carry on enjoying your driving. Good Luck

4allweknow Sun 01-Aug-21 11:07:06

Supermarket car parks and erratic older drivers? Can't say I've seen any. What I do constantly see are young drivers especially females speeding. Their focus when in a car park seem to be get to the nearest to the store parking space before anyone else and then drive out as if their house was on fire. I often think there must be many young illiterate drivers as they don't seem to recognise speed limit signs in such places, often 10 mph.