Elderly Drivers: When to stop driving

Believe it or not, there’s no legal age at which you must stop driving in the UK. It’s up to the individual to decide when they should stop if they don’t have any medical conditions that affect their driving.

Find out in this blog how changes to your health can affect your driving and how to adjust to going without a car, if necessary.

At what age should you stop driving?

Old age alone is not a reason to stop driving, as each person is different. As individuals, we all age differently, so naturally the decision on when you should stop driving is completely unique to you. It’s possible that an 80-year-old in perfect health can drive safely without assistance, while a 60-year-old with impaired vision may indeed need to stop driving.

What is the average age at which people stop driving?

There is no set age in the UK when a person must legally stop driving, however from the age of 70, you must renew your driving licence every 3 years. It’s at this point that some people may re-consider the need to have a car, particularly if they no longer cover long distances and can walk to the local shops or GP service. Renewal is free, but you are required to declare any medical conditions and confirm that you meet the legal eyesight standards for driving.

Some health issues can affect driving, such as:

  • Eyesight or vision problems
  • Hearing loss that would prevent you from hearing sirens or car horns
  • Medications that cause drowsiness or reduce reaction times
  • Mobility problems and pain: the person may have difficulty or be slower pulling the handbrake, using the footbrake, or moving their head to check their side vision.
  • Memory problems: The person may get lost, confused, or disorientated if they are in an unfamiliar area.

How to know when to stop driving?

Natural changes occur in our brains and our bodies as we age. The question of when to stop driving is not about age, it’s all about the ability of the driver. There are some key tell-tale signs that your ability to drive safely may be compromised. These include:

  • Slower reaction times
  • Difficulty in turning to see when reversing
  • Keeping a foot on the brake
  • Other drivers sounding their horns at you
  • Incorrect signals
  • Hitting the kerb
  • Trouble staying in lane
  • Trouble making turns
  • Confusion at exits
  • Over-revving the engine, especially on low-speed manoeuvres
  • Difficulties with low-light or night-time driving
  • Avoidance of driving to new or unfamiliar places
  • Scrapes and dents in the car

If you see any of the above in yourself or a loved one, then it’s might be time to hang up the keys and make use of the local buses and taxi services.

How can I adjust to life without driving?

It can be difficult to accept when we’re no longer able to do something safely that has been a big part of our lives. But reducing or giving up driving doesn’t mean the end of your independence or mobility.

At Platinum Skies all of our communities are situated close to local amenities such as shops, pharmacies, and doctors’ surgeries. Our communities are also served well by public transport links. If you are thinking about stopping driving now or in the coming years, then a Platinum Skies home can be a great way to future proof your lifestyle to ensure that you can continue to enjoy your favourite activities for many years to come.

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