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Driving safely in old age – in conversation with Lorna Lee from the AA

The law states that once a driver reaches the age of 70, they must renew their driving license, and every three years thereafter. The DVLA must be made aware of any medical conditions which may affect driving. Other than that, there is nothing in law to stop an older person driving. This podcast episode provides pragmatic advice to help you approach the subject with an elderly relative, particularly if you’re worried about them driving.

In this episode, Lorna Lee, Campaigns Manager from the AA, shares with Annabel tips and advice for ensuring safety in older drivers.

Click on the play icon to begin listening to this episode – it may take a few moments to load.

You can also listen to this episode about Travel in Old Age via Apple Podcasts:

listen on apple podcasts

Show notes for this episode

Click on the following links to scroll to sections of the show notes:

The law for older drivers

Once a driver reaches the age of 70, they must renew their driving licence, and will have to do this every three years following their 70th birthday. Having a sight test is not compulsory, but is recommended.

Drivers (of any age) must declare any medical conditions that could affect their driving abilities to the DVLA.

Before a licence is renewed, you may want to read this helpful guide: 15 Things to Consider before you renew your driving licence at 70.

Spotting signs of deteriorating driving

Look out for things like reaction times, spatial awareness, difficulty seeing and confusion in judging whether an older person is fit to drive. Lots of dents and scrapes on a car could also be an indicator that their ability to drive is impaired.

Worried about an older person driving? Start by having a conversation

If you are worried about an older person driving, start by having a conversation with them about this. This could help them to start planning for not having a car in the future.

Seek an independent driving assessment, through an agency such as RoSPA. This is a good way of avoiding and resolving conflict about the issue. It brings in a third party and feels less personal for the driver in question. These agencies do not remove licenses, but will provide detailed feedback about whether or not the person is safe to drive.

Buying a car for an older driver

If you are looking to buy a car for an older driver, prioritise personal comfort, i.e. vehicles that are easy to get in and out of. Cars with larger mirrors and windows are good for visibility. Many new cars have helpful technology, such as parking sensors and cameras, as well as lane departure systems. Cars with automatic boot openings are also more comfortable for older drivers. The European New Car Assessment Programme also provides safety ratings for all new cars on the market, which you can check online.

Once you have listened to the episode in the player at the top of the page, you may find our thorough guide on driving safely in old age useful.

Show credits

Visit our website at www.agespace.orgFacebook page (search for Age Space) and Twitter account (@agespace) for more information and free advice and support on all aspects of caring for elderly parents.

Show produced by Husain Husaini at Wire Free Productions.

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