As the UK population ages and life expectancy increases, there are more over 50s on British roads than ever before. In fact, research from The AA predicts that, come 2035, there will be about 21 million UK drivers over the age of 50.
There are a few things you’ll want to think about if you plan on getting behind the wheel for many years to come.
You don’t have to retake your driving test
It’s a common misconception that once drivers reach a certain age, they’ll have to retake their driving test and continue to do so every few years. This simply isn’t true. There’s no age at which you’ll be required to retake your driving test by default.
Let the DVLA know if your health changes…
Drivers of any age must inform the DVLA of any medical conditions that could impact their ability to drive safely.
As we get older, we are naturally more prone to the kind of issues that this could entail, whether it’s poorer sight, the onset of a heart condition or a problem with mobility, like arthritis.
Simply having a medical condition like these doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be told you can’t drive. But it’s very important to be honest about it to let the DVLA make any assessments that they need to – for your own safety and that of other drivers on the road.
…Because not doing so could have major consequences
Not informing the DVLA of certain health conditions will not only invalidate your licence, but your car insurance, too. You can even face fines of up to £1,000, along with the revoking of your licence.
Older drivers tend to be safer drivers
It’s not uncommon to hear that older drivers pose an elevated risk to themselves and other road users, but research doesn’t back this up.
Data from The AA shows that drivers over 60 are involved in fewer crashes than those in younger age groups. That’s thought to be because older drivers tend to avoid driving at night and at peak times, when most accidents happen.
There’s training available
Come your 50th birthday, it may be more than three decades since you took your driving test. As with anything in life, it’s only natural to pick up some bad habits along the way – behaviour that you may not even be aware of.
If you have any doubts, why not book an Experienced Driver Assessment through the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents? This isn’t a traditional driving test and any outcomes will not affect your right to drive – you’ll simply receive some advice from a qualified professional. At just £35, it’s well worth considering.
You’ll have to renew your licence eventually
There does come a point at which you’ll need to decide whether to renew your licence.
A few months before your 70th birthday, the DVLA will send you a D46P Application form. You’ll need to fill this in and return it by post or complete it using the online service, should you wish to keep driving.
The application won’t cost anything and, unless you have any serious medical conditions, it’s for you to decide whether you can carry on driving. You’ll need to repeat the process every three years once you turn 70, so your licence renewal is a good time to reassess things.
Cars can be adapted
If you’re worried that a worsening health issue, such as a mobility issue like arthritis, will put a stop to you driving sooner than you’d like, remember that vehicles can be modified to accommodate a huge number of conditions.
From ‘spinners’ that reduce the effort needed to turn the steering wheel, to hand controls in the place of foot pedals, there’s lots that can be done to make driving work around you.
To find out more about potential adaptions, take a look at the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC).
If you’re looking into buying a new car, you should bear in mind that some models will be better suited to these adaptions than others, so always get plenty of advice before you drive off the forecourt.
At Rias, we think everybody should be able to enjoy the freedom of driving for as long as they’re able to drive safely. Stay protected on the roads and start a car insurance quote from us today >