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Driving in Retirement

By: Jessica McCurdy Crooks - Updated: 6 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Older Drivers Licence Retirement Driving

Many retired people look forward to the freedom of not having nine-to-five jobs. They can spend their time travelling and enjoying sights they had always wanted to see but couldn't before, whether at home, or abroad on vacation. Statistics worldwide indicate that persons of retirement age while not involved in most accidents are involved in more on a per-mile-travelled basis. Nine drivers over seventy are reported killed per one hundred miles driven, and are involved in three times more accidents than drivers aged forty-five to sixty.

Warning Signs

Below are some signs that could indicate that age is affecting your driving:
  • Being in increasing numbers of accidents and near misses
  • Decreased mobility or less coordination of hand and feet movements
  • Stopping when there is no need, especially where it dangerous, such as at a green light or in the middle of moving traffic
  • Becoming fearful of driving
  • Decreased vision, hearing or concentration

Making Driving Safer

Advancing age is not necessarily a reason to stop driving, but people need to be aware that some things will change with age. Being aware of these changes and adjusting driving habits accordingly is the main means of being a safe driver no matter your age.

To remain a safe driver as you age, keep a checklist and report health related changes to your health care professional. Things to look for are: hearing difficulties, reduced vision, and slowed reactions and reflexes.

It is also important to:

  • Avoid driving in heavy traffic or on unfamiliar streets
  • Avoid driving at night unless absolutely necessary
  • Do not drive if you are taking medication that impair functions or that can result in drowsiness
  • Follow a four-step plan each time you need to drive: make a plan of your travel route, envision certain traffic situations and possible solutions, and be alert to your surroundings, and take the necessary action to keep your self and other users of the road safe.
  • Take a driver refresher course to help boost your confidence while driving
  • Also consider making some adjustments to your car so that you are better able to operate it

Driving Licences, Age and the Law

Although there is no law that stipulates the age that a senior should stop driving, as a safe road user you will know if you need to consider this option. You must however renew your licence upon reaching age seventy, as your full license expires. Once you have reached seventy years of age you will need to renew your licence every three years. Persons, who drive in their jobs, that is, vocational drivers, will need to renew their licence upon reaching forty-five. Such individuals will have to renew every five years until they reach age sixty-five, at which time they will have to renew their licence annually.

Drivers must inform the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) of any medical conditions that could adversely affect their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Although older drivers may have special needs, being willing to adjust to their changing conditions can make driving a pleasurable and safe activity for all.

Need to Refresh Your Knowledge?

If you love driving but feel the need to occasionally refresh your knowledge or skills, take a look at the Driving Skills section of Safermotoring.co.uk for lots of useful information and tips.

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