As time goes on, you’ll find yourself growing older but still relying on your trusty car to get around. More and more, older people are keeping their cars well into their senior years. According to stats from the AA, by 2030 more than 90% of men over 70 will be driving.
However, as you age you’ll find your reactions slowing. Fatigue sets in earlier and you’ll get sore easier when you drive long distances. Here are our top tips for elderly drivers to help you stay safe when motoring year after year.
1. Be aware of your limits
Unless prevented by a medical condition, you can continue driving after 70, providing you renew every three years. This means you’ll only need to give up driving voluntarily. There is no safe or unsafe age, but you’ll know your own body and ability. If your eyesight is getting worse or driving is starting to hurt you too much, it may be time to give up or stick to very short journeys.
2. Set driving restrictions
As you age, you may want to consider setting restrictions on how you drive depending on how you feel. For instance, you could avoid busy motorways or driving through city centres. Setting these limits is a sign of responsibility but is entirely up to you.
3. Stay in practice
As long as you hold your licence, you should continue to drive when possible to keep your ability levels up. Regardless of your partner or family’s ability to give you rides, you should try and drive at least a few times a week if you’re able to.
4. Remain active
Fitness is important, even for driving. You’ll find yourself riddled with aches and pains if you drive when unfit and elderly. The best way to prevent this is to stay active, going for short walks or performing gentle exercise to keep yourself mobile.
5. Buy appropriate vehicles
Your age will not restrict your vehicle choice, you can drive any car you like. However, there are some very sensible options available that may appeal to elderly drivers. Larger 4x4’s can be tough to park, but small cars like the Ford Fiesta and Focus, which offer plenty of miles to the gallon alongside high safety ratings, can be useful.
If you’re transporting a loved one, you might need something larger. A new crossover vehicle is a safe and spacious way to drive without the additional bulk of a 4×4.
6. Know when it’s time to quit
Providing you keep renewing, only you will know when it’s time to give up driving. You MUST notify the DVLA if you have a notable medical condition or disability, your conditions worsens since you got your license or you develop a new condition.
Aside from that, you’ll need to gauge how good your driving is. Ask a loved one who has driven with you or has witnessed your driving for their opinion. Once you’ve made the decision to surrender your license, you’ll have to notify the DVLA. You can do this via this page.
Giving up your license is a big step. However, it can be a life-saving one if your driving ability worsens.
Be honest with yourself and enjoy driving, as long as your health and ability is maintainable. If you feel things getting worse but don’t have a retest scheduled, consider giving it up.