Driving As You Get Older: A Beginner’s Guide
There are more older drivers on UK roads these days than ever before. And, when you reach that certain age, there are a few things you need to think about. Safety is a vital issue for all drivers, of course. But, as your body starts to age, you may not be able to use it in the same way as you could when you were younger. It might have an impact on how you drive, and your abilities to control a car.
But, that’s not to say you should stop driving. In fact, far from it. By 2030, 90% of men over the age of 70 will be driving on the roads. And, as long as you take care of yourself, there’s no reason why you can’t be one of them. Let’s have a look at some of the most important things to consider.
Health and age
No one ages the same way, so there are no definite guidelines that you need to concern yourself with straight away. However, if you become frail, there is more chance of doing yourself damage if you have an accident. If you are worried about your condition, always see your doctor. They will be able to go through some of your options with you and give you some advice on the way you should drive in the future. For example, if you frequently get tired, your doctor is likely to tell you to avoid driving for long distances.
Upgrading your licence
Anyone over 70 years old has to reapply for their license by law. And, you have to continue to do it every three years. It’s easier than you think, so don’t panic. You won’t have to take a test, or have a medical – but you will have to disclose any vital info about your medical conditions.
It is your responsibility to decide whether you are fit to drive, in most cases. Sometimes, a medical condition will force you to stop – and you should always let the DVLA know if your general health changes in any way. It’s a good idea to have someone keeping an eye on you, as conditions like dementia can cause problems here.
Choosing the right car can help you drive easier and help you through the problems you might face with aging. You might look at getting hand control gears, for example. Or, if your condition is leading to disability in some way, you might want to think about going for a Motability option. The likes of Vauxhall and Skoda Motability programmes will help you adapt a vehicle for your needs.
The importance of staying on the roads
Finally, if you are fit to drive, just keep driving. It will help you keep a lot of your independence, and your skills will stay sharp. Even six months or a year off driving a car is going to make it difficult to get back behind the wheel. You are far better off on the roads if you have the ability now – as, in the future, you may find it leaves you entirely.