My mum didn’t learn to drive until her late thirties. Up until then she was either too scared or couldn’t see the point (she say the latter and I suspect the former), but as soon as she passed her test and my parents bought a little red Rover, she fell in love with it. In the end, I think she actually proved herself to be a better driver than my dad, she definitely had a better sense of direction, but that wasn’t the important thing. The really good thing that earning to drive did for my mum was giver her a sense of freedom. Now that she’s past her sixty fourth birthday, I think we’re both worried she’ll have to give that freedom up soon.
Back in the eighties, my parents decided they didn’t want to be in the centre of town anymore and they decided to move out to the suburbs. And while they knew they’d make the right choice, and I’m grateful that I got to grow up in a small town with plenty of grass and play parks, but I know my mum found it difficult to be somewhere out of the swing of things at first. Finally, after realising there was no way the bus service would be good enough for her to rely on, she decided to learn how to drive.
Some of my favourite memories of childhood are of me sitting in the passenger seat beside her as she drove us to do the shopping or for a day out with my little bother in the back. She used to sing to us, and later along to the radio. These days, my mum is still driving (and still singing), but we’re starting to think that her days might be numbered.
At the moment, she’s still very good behind the wheel and her eyesight is very decent for someone her age and to be honest, I think that left to her own devices she’d be safe on the roads for a long time to come. However, more and more often we’ve been noticing a negative attitude form other drivers. I think a lot of people assume that just because she’s past a certain age, she’ll be a menace on the road. Which is a real shame.
There’s been some controversy about things like compulsory extra driving tests for pensioners in the last few years, with some people - like race car driver Stirling Moss coming out in favour of it - and other folks, such as the RAC, saying it’s not a good idea.
After a bit of a ponder over it, I actually think it’d be a good idea. If everyone knew my mum had been passed as fit to still be driving, maybe they’d be more courteous to her. The only thing I think would be a problem is the cost, have you seen how much learning to drive costs?, but if that could be subsidised or lowered for pensioners, I think it could be a positive step.
For the time being though I’d just like people to let my mum enjoy her last few years of driving, she’s careful on the roads and pays her car insurance just like everyone else - so let her make the most of it please!
Jennifer is a part of the digital blogging team at cashzilla.co.uk who work with a growing number of finance brands. For more information about me, or to keep up to date with the latest in finance news, check out my posts at cashzilla.co.uk or visit my Twitter account, @cashzilla.