Years Ahead Resources

Years Ahead is a free program helping older Victorians remain safe on the road, in the home, and connected within their community.

Years Ahead Videos

This video introduces the Years Ahead program and the topics it covers

This video outlines the importance of driving a safe vehicle

This video covers some of the different health and ageing issues which may affect your ability to drive

This video outlines what you should do if you are not as fit as you used to be and driving is becoming difficult

This video shows that identifying and removing hazards is a simple way to reduce the risk of a fall

This video demonstrates the benefits of improving your health and fitness as you age

Article Library

The following articles address common safety, health and vehicle issues faced by older drivers.

To read an article, click on the relevant heading:

Choosing a safe car

It is particularly important for older people to consider safety features and options when choosing a car. There are many safety features available in cars to help keep you safer and driving longer.

Even though older drivers have fewer crashes than other age groups, they are more likely to sustain serious or life threatening injuries if there is a crash. 

This is caused by increased frailty in older people, making them more susceptible to injury. For example, someone who is 80 is five times more fragile compared to someone who is 50 years old.

As we age:

  • It takes less force to cause tissue damage and fractures.
  • Existing health conditions can exaggerate the level of injuries sustained.
  • People are less able to recover from injuries, resulting in more complications, longer hospital stay and more rehabilitation.

If you are buying a car, RACV's Make the right choice - Vehicle safety advice for older drivers can help with your decision. This guide provides essential vehicle safety information and a checklist of important features you should look for when buying a car.

For a copy of this guide, contact RACV.

Dementia and driving

In Victoria, there are around 104,000 people living with dementia, with alzheimer's disease being the most common form of dementia.

A diagnosis of dementia does not necessarily mean that you will need to stop driving. However, dementia can impact driving ability, so it is important to get an early diagnosis to put measures in place to make sure you can drive safely for as long as possible. 

There is no one size fits all when determining how long someone can drive with dementia. The time before someone stops driving depends on:

  • The cause of the dementia
  • Other health conditions
  • When diagnosis is made
  • How quickly the disease progresses

If you are worried about yourself, a friend or family member, it is important to talk to your health professional for advice. A diagnosis of dementia legally needs to be reported to VicRoads to ensure that it is managed to keep drivers and others safe on the road.

What to look out for

Some indicators of someone experiencing dementia include:

  • Becoming disorientated or lost whilst driving in familiar areas
  • Forgetting the purpose of trips
  • Losing the car in familiar car parks
  • Having difficulty making quick decisions at intersections or busy roads
  • Driving through Stop/Give Way signs or traffic lights without giving way
  • Not seeing vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists sharing the road
  • Difficulty parking or driving into carports or garages
  • Slower reaction times
  • Difficulties using the brake, accelerator or steering wheel
  • Unexplained dents and scratches on the car

Often people will lose insight into their condition and may not be able to make judgements about their driving capacity. Dementia symptoms cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning.

Support and brochures

RACV has developed a guide to dementia, driving and mobility. This guide is for professionals, carers, families, friends and for people with dementia. It summarises key issues surrounding driving and dementia including mobility options for people who have stopped driving.

For a copy of this guide, please contact RACV.

Other resources and contacts:

Drivers and passengers with a disability

Drivers and passengers with a disability can often continue to travel legally and safely with some vehicle modifications. Vehicle modifications can be minor or major. A minor modification could be a spinner hand-grip device to give people added strength and control when driving. Back support cushions can help assist with comfort and assist with muscle fatigue. A major modification may include installation of special steering systems or a ramp/hoist for people in a wheelchair or motorised scooter.

Before modifying a vehicle there are many things to consider, such as costs, registration and licensing requirements and whether modifications are the best option for you. RACV’s Keeping Mobile brochure will be to provide you with further information about modifying your vehicle for drivers and passengers with a disability.

The following services offer more information on vehicle modifications for drivers and passengers with a disability:

  • Independent Living Centre (ILC) - The ILC provides a free internet database, telephone advisory line, and also runs special display days. Visit the ILC website for more information. 
  • Disabled Motorists Association (DMA) - The DMA is a not-for-profit organisation run by and for motorists with disabilities. They can advise on a range of issues and many of their members are drivers with disabilities who have practical firsthand experience.
  • Transport Accident Commission (TAC) - The TAC can provide information for people who are injured in traffic accidents. Information includes eligibility for compensation, application forms, and vehicle modifications.
  • VicRoads - VicRoads are responsible for ensuring that all drivers can drive safely. VicRoads provide advice and information about driving with long-term or permanent medical conditions or disabilities and occupational therapy driver assessment. The Vehicle Assessment Signatory Scheme (VASS) is also a part of VicRoads, which aims to ensure all modified vehicles meet construction and safety standards.
  • OT Australia (Vic) - OT Australia (Vic) can provide information on how to find an OT generalist or driver assessor.
  • Royal Children’s Hospital - The Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne) has a Safety Centre which provides information about safety issues for all children – including those with special needs.
  • Vehicle Modifications Subsidy Scheme (VMSS) - The VMSS is part of the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program and is funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Eligible drivers/passengers with permanent disabilities living in Victoria may receive a subsidy of up to $10,000 (over a seven-year period) for the cost of certain modifications.

There are also several advocacy and support groups for people with different medical conditions and disabilities:

  • MS Australia - MS Australia has been supporting and helping people with multiple sclerosis since 1956. MS Australia informs people with MS how best to live as full and healthy a lifestyle as possible while managing the symptoms of MS.
  • AQA – AQA is a provider of support and services for people who sustain spinal cord injuries (quadriplegia and paraplegia) and similar physical disabilities. AQA is a member based organisation who enable people affected by physical disability to achieve maximum independence.
  • Independence Australia – Independence Australia is a not for profit organisation that supports people with a disability or other physical needs to achieve their optimal quality of life.

Mobility planning

Whether you’re looking for other ways to get to where you need to go or if you have decided to stop driving, it is easier than you think to stay connected to your friends, family, community or the services you need. 

RACV’s Transport Options for Seniors guide provides advice about how to plan your trip, use myki and other special things you’ll need to consider when you’re travelling without a car:

  • Travel discounts
  • Planning your public transport journey
  • Paying for public transport
  • Catching a metropolitan train
  • Catching a V/Line train or coach
  • Catching a bus
  • Catching a tram
  • Catching a taxi
  • Riding a bicycle
  • Motorised mobility devices
  • Travel assistance
  • Years Ahead
  • Useful contacts

For a copy of this guide, please contact RACV.

Medical conditions and driving

VicRoads has more information on different types of medical conditions and their affect on driving.

By visiting this link you will be able to access more information relating to:

  • Vision impairments
  • Diabetes
  • Heart conditions
  • Psychiatric conditions
  • Sleep disorders
  • Hearing impairment
  • Dementia
  • Seizures
  • Neurological conditions
  • Multiple medical conditions

Driving and pharmacy medications

Many drivers are unaware that pharmacy medications could be impairing their driving, particularly if mixed with alcohol.

Some medications affect driver performance, for example by affecting reaction time and causing fatigue, especially those that you may take to help you sleep at night.

How medication effects people will depend on each individual – their build, their physical condition, the amount of medication and the combination of medications taken.

If you’re worried that your medication may affect your driving, continue with the medication, avoid driving, and see your doctor.

TAC has developed more detailed information about the types and effects of medications. Find out more from TAC.

RACV Senior Driver Program

RACV encourages everyone to drive as long as they are safe to do so. Our Senior Drivers’ Program provides professional advice about your driving and practical solutions to help maintain your mobility for as long as possible.

RACV’s Drive School has instructors who have been specifically trained to provide senior drivers with the best driver instruction and feedback possible.

What the program covers

The RACV Senior Drivers' Program is tailored to your individual needs. It covers local driving and complex driving situations, focuses on specific skills needing improvement and provides verbal and written feedback so you can monitor and record your progress.

The program is suitable for senior drivers who:

  • Would like an assessment of their own driving ability
  • Have family members who are concerned about their safety
  • Are undergoing a VicRoads licence assessment
  • Have lost confidence in their driving ability and feel a refresher course may help

For more information or to book call the RACV Drive School on 1300 788 229.

Brochure Library

Looking for information on a specific topic? The following brochures are FREE to download: