Elderly drivers – when is it time to give up driving?

3 minute read

There is no set age when you should give up driving, though once you reach the age of 70, the DVLA will ask you to sit a driving test. This will be repeated every 3 years. There is no reason why you have to stop driving once you reach 70 and there are many drivers in the UK still driving well into their eighties.

Apart from age, there are a number of factors that need to be considered as to whether you should stop driving.  You may be aware of changes yourself or a family member or a friend may have noticed a change in your driving, such as:

  • Braking or accelerating abruptly without cause
  • Making sudden changes
  • Becoming nervous and confused in traffic
  • Ignoring or missing traffic lights or stop signs
  • Drifting into other lanes
  • Not stopping at junctions
  • Confusing the brake and acceleration pedals
  • Difficulty in seeing other traffic and pedestrians
  • Missing turn offs or exits
  • Not using turn signals
  • Slow reaction times
  • Driving significantly slower that the general speed of other vehicles or the speed limit
  • Flexibility problems turning to see other traffic
  • Medical problems affecting your driving ability

If any of the above sound familiar , you should consider whether giving up driving would be the right thing to do.

In those cases where an older driver has not noticed any issues with their driving themselves but issues are noticeable by others, it is important for a family member or friend to address the problem and have a conversation with the driver.  It can be a very upsetting subject to deal with, but it is better to deal with it than to wait for an accident to happen if the driver’s ability is deteriorating.

Driving after 70 – Learn how to renew licence | Age UK

Giving up driving is an enormous decision as the driver will lose the independence which driving gives them.  There are ways in which to address the situation such as:

  • Suggesting a driving test to evaluate driving ability
  • Enrolling in a mature driving course which will help with driving skills such as learning the current rules, defensive driving techniques and how to drive more safely
  • Suggesting eye and hearing tests to ensure the driver has the correct prescription or to provide glasses or hearing aids to help with driving

By considering the above, you may still be able to continue driving.  There is an advantage to completing a mature driving course, as the driver may be eligible for an insurance discount.  Age Co Car Insurance offers insurance to elderly drivers and say they will never decline insurance on age alone but will consider a person’s medical health and whether they are fit and safe to drive in line with the  DVLA before providing Insurance.

You must report all medical conditions to the DVLA and your insurance.  This could result in your insurance being increased, but, if you do not notify your insurers, your policy will become invalid. You could face a fine of £1000 and if involved in an accident, you could be prosecuted.

You must also monitor your eyesight and ensure your prescription is up to date.  Eye tests for the over 60’s are free.  If you are caught out with the wrong prescription this could invalidate your insurance and it is also extremely dangerous.

Should a family member or friend believe a driver to be dangerous when driving and not co-operative to taking a test or a driving course, there is an option to report the unsafe driver to the DVLA by calling 0844 453 0118.

Not all elderly drivers are considered to be dangerous and in fact in many cases they are considered to be more careful than the average driver.  Elderly drivers just need to adapt and give consideration to getting older.

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident it is important to get specialist legal support to help you with your claim. If you are an older driver involved in an accident your age alone should not be used against you to establish liability. If you want to have a free confidential discussion about ways we can help you bring a serious injury claim contact us on 0800 044 8488 or fill in this form so we can call you back Contact Us – Enable Law

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