Two in five drivers would feel isolated from the outside world if they couldn’t drive anymore, according to research by the AA Driving School* to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.
This year Mental Health Awareness Week is focusing on the impact of loneliness and practical steps people can take to address it.
The AA Driving School asked drivers how not being able to drive would impact on their lives and make them feel, with a focus on how driving can bring social connections.
Many drivers agreed that not being able to drive would impact on their lives:
- 85% agreed they would not be able to travel as easily
- 75% agreed they would not be able to see friends and family as much
- 50% agreed they would miss out on social events
- 45% agreed they would feel isolated from the outside world
- 34% agreed they would be unable to get to work
- 31% agreed they would feel lonely
Older drivers (60+) were most likely to agree that not being able to drive would have an impact on their lives, with more than half (52%) saying they would not be able to travel as easily.
Learning to drive is a skill many drivers may take for granted but it can be a lifeline for people who live in rural areas, those who live further away from friends and family or who rely on being able to drive for essential daily activities like work, food shopping and medical appointments.
Jenna Williams, AA Driving School instructor from Cardiff said: “The long wait that many people have faced over the last couple of years while waiting to learn to drive has been particularly challenging and will certainly have impacted some people’s mental health.
“Learning to drive can provide a massive boost to your mental health and help tackle loneliness because driving gives people independence and the freedom to meet up with friends and family whenever they choose. Going for a drive and listening to music can also help people unwind at the end of a stressful day.”
The AA Driving School also offers driving refresher lessons to boost confidence and skills for drivers who may be out of practice or want to refresh their knowledge on areas such as motorway driving or navigating rural roads.
Jenna, who has been an AA driving instructor for nearly five years, added: “I’m pleased to be helping to get people on the road – it can be busy and stressful at times, but I am certainly never lonely as I constantly get to meet and chat to new people, which I really enjoy.”