By The Acclaim Team on 28th August 2023 in News
Are you considering learning to drive later in life? You're not alone.
While it’s true that many learner drivers are younger, it’s never too late to step behind the wheel for the first time.
Learning to drive can be a life changing experience, opening up the doorway to greater independence and freedom, regardless of age.
Learning to drive later in life can come with challenges and can feel intimidating. Still, in recent years there has been a surge in the number of older drivers taking to the roads, with a four per cent increase in the number of people ages 70 and over with a full driving licence in the UK in the last 12 months alone.
In this blog, we look at how to overcome nervousness and embrace your independence when learning to drive later in life.
Why learn to drive later in life?
There are many reasons why learner drivers may not choose to take the plunge and book their first lesson until later in life. It may be that you did not have the financial stability to run a car, or a partner or family member previously did all of the driving. Learning to drive can be a life-altering and empowering opportunity. Here are some of the reasons why you might consider learning to drive later in life.
Unlocking new horizons
Learning to drive later in life can open up a world of opportunities and experiences. No longer reliant on others for transportation, you can explore new places, visit friends and family with ease, and pursue activities and hobbies that were previously out of reach.
Independence is a priceless gift, and obtaining a driver's licence later in life empowers you to make spontaneous decisions about where you want to go and when. No more waiting for public transport or bothering loved ones for rides.
Enhanced quality of life
Having the ability to drive can significantly improve your quality of life. It allows you to maintain an active social life, access medical appointments conveniently, and run errands as and when you need to.
How to overcome nervousness as a later-in-life learner
It’s true that as you get older, learning to drive can become more difficult, and it’s natural to feel nervous during your first lessons. Some people may feel embarrassed or self-conscious about being an older learner driver, but you aren’t alone. Here are some practical tips to help you overcome your anxiety and embark on this exciting journey.
Do seek support
It’s important to choose the best instructor who will understand your nerves and who has experience teaching older learner drivers. Make sure to seek out a reputable driving school, like Acclaim Driving, with patient and knowledgeable instructors who specialise in teaching learners of all ages.
Be open about your experiences with your family and friends who can offer encouragement and moral support before and during your learning experience.
Don’t compare your journey to others
Every new driver learns at their own pace, regardless of their age. Try not to compare your learning experience to that of others. Focus on your personal journey and take things one step at a time.
Do take things at your own pace
Choosing the right lesson style and schedule can help ease your nerves. Whether you prefer one lesson per week or choose an intensive course, there are a number of ways to learn to drive, so make sure to choose a schedule that suits you. If you can, practise regularly outside of your lessons with a member of your family or a friend who drives. This can help build your confidence on the road, particularly if you do go a little while between lessons.
Do embrace your natural cautiousness
Older drivers often find they’re more cautious on the roads compared to younger learners. While this may feel like a hindrance, it can in fact make you a safer driver. Some studies suggest that overconfident young drivers are more likely to get into an accident or make common mistakes during their test such as not checking their mirrors enough. Being a more cautious driver can actually improve your chances of passing your test.
Choosing the right instructor
One of the most important steps in learning to drive, especially for older learners, is choosing an instructor who understands your unique needs and concerns.
Look for an instructor who has experience in teaching older learners and who can adapt their teaching methods accordingly. Clear, patient, and empathetic communication is key when learning to drive later in life. A skilled instructor will take the time to explain concepts thoroughly, addressing any questions or concerns you may have.
Preparing for your driving test
The driving test is the final hurdle before you obtain your licence. Proper preparation is the key to helping you approach it with confidence.
· Consider taking mock tests with your instructor to simulate the real test experience
· Refresh your knowledge of road signs and rules by reviewing the Highway Code
· Practice relaxation techniques to manage test-day nerves. Deep breathing and positive visualisation can be highly effective
Learning to drive with Acclaim Driving
Learning to drive later in life is a highly rewarding endeavour that can greatly enhance your independence and quality of life. It's important to remember that everyone's journey is unique, and it's never too late to start.
At Acclaim Driving, we specialise in helping learners of all ages achieve their goal of driving independence. Our experienced and patient instructors are here to guide you every step of the way.
From individual lessons to intensive courses and test preparation, we have over 35 years of experience teaching learners of all ages, from all walks of life. We believe that age shouldn’t be a barrier to becoming a skilled and capable driver, and our expert instructors are on hand to help support and encourage you throughout the entire learning experience.