Deciding at what age you should hand over your license and stop driving can be a very tough decision. This is harder for car owners that have been driving for many years. The decision about stopping driving is often taken out of your hands by having an accident, illness or a very near miss. According to the DVLC; after you reach 70 you have to renew your license every three years. However, there’s no legal age at which you must stop driving. So the official answer is; can carry on if you don’t have a medical condition that affects your driving and you feel safe and competence. As long as you meet those conditions you can continue driving as long as you like.
What you should consider as an older driver:
Your Eyesight: Have regular eye check ups and if you wear glasses or contacts to make sure your vision is good.
Reaction time: Being able to react fast enough to prevent most accidents. There are a number of mobile apps to try as well as this online reaction tester.
Ability to read the road or deal with traffic: Many people lose confidence panic or get stressed when dealing with heavy traffic, especially on unfamiliar roads. Consider having a few older driver refresher lessons with a qualified driving instructor. A great way to get an independent review of how well you are doing is.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists offer a RoadSmart Mature Driver’s Assessment course. This dedicated driving course is geared towards older drivers.
Don’t think just because you are getting on in age you should stop driving.
86 year old Thelma Bradshaw, from Derby, is one of the oldest women in the UK to pass the test. She originally passed her test in 1977. Thelma retook her entire driving test to prove she still could and to make sure she was up to scratch.
With great joy she passed with flying colours and completed the test just one mark short of a perfect score. After passing the retired teacher said: “It doesn’t matter how old people are, it’s a question of how capable they are.”
Being “capable” seems to be the overall answer to this question that has been asked many times. So don’t put your car into mothballs and stop driving just because you think you are past it at your age. Keep at it, maintain your independence and keep behind the wheel until you no longer feel capable or safe doing so.