Driving In Older Age

Driving And The Elderly

The AA has recently written about older drivers and how increasing age doesn’t mean it is necessary to stop driving. In fact, their research suggests that older drivers are less likely to have accidents than very young drivers.  Retaining independence and being able to get out and about without relying on others is hugely beneficial for older people, so continuing to drive can be a part of this, as long as it is safe to do so.

Driving And Loneliness

The research also quotes statistics from Independent Age, highlighting how 5% of those surveyed had no-one to ask for a lift, and that 73% would be reluctant to ask for a lift even if someone was available. This is problematic for a number of reasons. Loneliness is a prevalent issue across society, but is often particularly problematic in older generations. Consequently, losing the freedom that driving brings is likely to increase isolation, particularly in areas where there is no adequate alternative. Also, if there is no-one to ask for a lift, important appointments etc. are more difficult to get to, an issue raised by AgeUK in their Painful Journeys campaign.

Not Driving Reduces Independence

Finally, for some older people, being unable to drive and unable or unwilling to ask for a lift reduces independence, thereby reducing quality of life. This is not to say that there are instances where driving is no longer feasible or safe – however, we must recognise that for individuals used to driving, losing the independence it brings has negative effects, and more must be done to mitigate against this.

Staying Safe While Driving

Over the age of 70, older adults must renew their licence every three years, although it is worth noting that this does not require taking a new test.

Staying safe while driving is important at any age, and it is encouraging to see a group such as the AA promoting the view that getting older doesn’t mean stopping driving. The AA have helpful information on their website about driving in later life, and if you would like to read the full report please visit –https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/advice/older-drivers

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