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Driving as you age
As the UK population ages, more drivers are now aged over 75 than ever before. And the number of pensioners behind the wheel is predicted to continue to grow significantly. But, despite some of the headlines, older drivers are statistically one of the safest groups behind the wheel, and access to a car is critical for many of them for their independence, health and emotional wellbeing.
So read on to see our tips and advice on driving safe for longer, and recommendations on where to seek further support as you, and your loved ones, grow older.
Find out how Paddy Hopkirk MBE, 86, IAM RoadSmart Mature Driver Ambassador and Rally Legend, ensures his driving remains top notch with continuous training and assessment.
Find out more here.
Further reading for safe driving in later life
Whether you are beginning to consider your own driving capability, or if you are concerned about a family member, there are many sources of guidance available:
The Older Drivers’ Forum provides a host of information including tips on how to recognise if your driving is changing and where to find support, and their 'Driving Safely For Life' guide covers all the key issues.
Road Safety organisation Brake also provides guidance for older drivers along with Driving Mobility who also offer assessments. Olderdrivers.org.uk provides a full range of advice and support, including where to find driving reviews.
Top tips for older drivers - staying safe behind the wheel
Experts from the Older Drivers Forum highlight four simple things you can do to carry on driving safely for longer:
1. Make sure you have regular eyesight tests with an optician
See here for the Older Drivers Forum’s recommendations on eyesight.
2. Ensure you seek medical advice about any medicines you are taking which may affect your driving
The Department for Transport has issued guidelines on driving while taking prescribed medicines here.
3. There are certain medical conditions which by law you must inform the DVLA about
For a full list of conditions including glaucoma, strokes, heart conditions and diabetes about which you are obliged to notify the DVLA click here.
4. Undertake a voluntary appraisal of your driving to brush up on your skills and carry on driving safely for longer
When was the last time someone appraised your driving? It’s fun and can really build your confidence, give it a go! Find out details of available reviews and assessments here.
For details of the IAM RoadSmart Mature Driver Review click here.
Learn more about Thelma Bradshaw, from Alvaston, Derby on the BBC website as she aces her advanced driving test at the age of 86.
Find out more here.
Read how our Director of Marketing and Communications pondered life without a car following the DoE's decision to hand in his licence at the age of 97.
Concerned about your driving? Like to reassure your family and friends that you're still safe behind the wheel? A confidential review by one of our driving experts will help.
What comes next?
As we age, our driving capability deteriorates. So at some point, we will all probably need to consider stopping driving.
Otherwise, we would be putting ourselves and other people (passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and people in other vehicles) at risk.
But giving up your driving licence does not mean that you will lose your freedom and mobility, as there are many alternatives to driving. Visit olderdrivers.org.uk for practical advice on deciding when and how to retire from driving and your options when you do.