Driving in Old Age


(Image Source: Flickr)

In the UK there is no upper age limit for drivers, something borne out by stories of people still driving in their nineties and sometimes beyond. While there is no law that says you should stop driving, you should employ common sense, if only for the sake of other road users. Once you reach seventy years of age you will receive notice from the DVLA that you will need to renew your licence if you want to continue driving – and you will need to renew it at three year intervals for as long as you continue to drive.

Eyesight

Many people find that their eyes do not work as well as they have done when they get older. If you are having trouble with your eyes but want to continue driving, then you should have your eyesight tested on a regular basis, as this makes driving safer for yourself and for other drivers. Some older people develop cataracts, but nowadays these can easily be removed, and providing your eyesight is otherwise okay, you should be able to continue driving.

Reactions

One of the things that can affect people as they get older is the speed at which they are able to react to a given situation. You should get your doctor to give you a check up just in case this is the result of some undiagnosed condition. When you renew your driving licence you have to show that you meet the requirements for eyesight when driving, and you should also disclose any underlying medical condition. If you do have a medical condition then the DVLA can request further information from your GP when assessing whether you are fit to continue driving.

The EDA

It may have been many years since you first passed your driving test, and if you want to know whether you are still fit to drive then you might apply for an EDA, or Experienced Driver Assessment, before renewing your licence. If you would like to have an EDA then you will need to contact the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in order to arrange a session.

Driving in Bad Weather

While every driver should take care when driving in bad weather, carrying the right kit in your car in case you get stuck is even more important for older drivers. You should always have an emergency kit in your car that contains extra clothing and blankets in case you are stuck during cold or icy conditions. If you’ve been driving for years you probably realise the need for checking your oil and water levels on a regular basis, and this is even more important when driving in hazardous conditions.

Don’t take on what could be a long and difficult drive without ensuring that you are thoroughly rested before setting out. Tiredness, no matter what the age of the person, is one of the biggest threats to drivers and to other road users, so make sure you take regular breaks.