It is normal for driving ability to change as we age. For most individuals driving is a main part of life, as this is a way of getting from place to place. Driving allows for more independence. Each individual ages differently and at different rates. There is no right or wrong age to give up your keys and stop driving.
This article explains the impact of age on an individual’s driving ability.
The older someone becomes, they are more likely to get into accidents than younger road users. Factors that can impact an individual’s driving as they age are:
- Impaired hearing or vision.
- Slower reflexes, such as pressing the breaks slower.
- Health conditions, that cause leg pain, back pain etc.
You may feel confident that your driving has not changed even though you have. Different methods of transport can often have benefits. For example, getting on a train, even though you are no longer the driver, still shows independence, especially if you are getting on the train on your own.
To prevent danger to yourself and others you should seek regular medical check-ups.
- Hearing checks: If you feel that your hearing is not how it use to be, it is best to get this checked. Be careful if opening windows as this can affect a hearing aid or general hearing ability as there will be background noises that may drown out important noises.
- Eye tests: Make sure that your prescription is up to date. Glasses or contacts made need changing if you have had these for a long time. Make sure that mirrors, windows, and headlights are clean so that visibility will not be impaired. Make sure to also turn up the brightness on your dashboard.
- Get enough sleep: this is paramount to make sure your driving is safe. Always make sure to take breaks if you feel tired when driving, and check with your GP if you are on medication, as this may affect your driving
Adapt your driving if you do not feel confident driving in certain conditions. For example, if you do not feel that you can see as well at night as you can in the day, only drive in daylight hours. If you do not feel comfortable driving at high speeds avoid motorways or roads over 50 mph. Bad weather conditions may be daunting. If you do not like driving when the weather is bad avoid driving in snow, ice, or heavy rain. Finally planning your route before leaving can make you feel more confident and aware, as appose to guessing, you may become lost.