Driving At An Older Age – Here’s What You Need To Know
This week’s article comes from our guest contributor Jane Sandwood
More than 100,000 people holding a driver’s licence in Britain are aged over 90 years old. However, many may wonder exactly how safe it is for people to drive at a later age – or if it’s safe at all. Whether you’re growing old yourself or have a loved one who is, here’s what you need to know about driving as you age – and how your health plays a part.
There’s a common misconception that older drivers are necessarily a danger to themselves and other drivers on the road, but this isn’t true. In fact, one piece of research from Swansea University found from an analysis of vehicle accident data that those who are 70 years old actually had three to four times fewer accidents than men aged 17-21. However, while it’s true that older drivers might be more careful on the road than those who are younger, it’s still important to realise that there are some risks involved when seniors don’t take the necessary precautions to hold driver’s licences.
The risks involved
Driving is a good way to maintain independence as you age, but it’s important to keep in mind that there are some risks involved when you are no longer fit to drive. One of the biggest risks of older drivers getting behind the wheel involves their health status. As we age, our vision tends to decline, and other important factors needed to drive, such as reaction times and the ability to judge things (like speed) while on the road can also deteriorate with age, making it extremely dangerous for drivers who aren’t in good health.
Doing your part
In addition to always following the laws of the road, upgrading your car as you age may also help in terms of staying safe and ensuring peace of mind on the road. Prioritise safety when you’re choosing your new car, and look into cars with safety features such as accident avoidance systems: these can help detect a potential collision and use autonomical braking to avoid it in time. Opting for a vehicle with a good safety rating is a necessary criteria when buying a car. It can help to ease your mind knowing that you’re driving a vehicle that’s safe and dependable in the event that you’re ever in an accident.
Another way you can ensure the safety of yourself and others while on the road is by taking care of yourself by attending regular doctor visits and eye exams. Older drivers are also required to do a self-assessment every three years stating that they are fit (medically speaking) to drive, so keeping up with regular doctor’s appointments is necessary. For those who have an older driver in the family, reminding them to stay up to date on their eye and health exams can help ensure proper safety as well. Overall, by keeping your health in check and taking safety precautions while on the road, you can continue to enjoy driving for as long as possible as you age.
Driving is a great way to stay independent and socially active as we age, but it’s important to stay safe. While older drivers aren’t necessarily a danger, keeping up with regular doctor visits can help to ensure the safety of yourself and others while on the road.