Driving can get more difficult as we get older.
Be aware of what gets more difficult for you so that you stay safe on the road. Here we have information and advice about your health and wellbeing in relation to driving.
"We know that older motorists have a wealth of experience, confidence and tolerance. However, sight, hearing, reaction time, and judgement of speed and distance may not be as sharp as it once was. Fragility increases with age, so injuries tend to be more serious and recovery takes much longer." Older Drivers Forum
Pain, flexibility and strength
Stiffness, pain, or weakness can affect your driving. It could make it difficult to turn your head to look around your vehicle, to reach or to use the vehicle's controls.
- A simple exercise programme can help keep you strong and flexible.
- Ask your doctor or physiotherapist if there are any exercise groups running in your area.
- Some leisure centres offer classes; or see if there are falls prevention groups in your area.
As we age, our eyesight changes and it may be harder to see clearly while driving.
"There's more cars these days, more signs."
"I'm not comfortable at night any more."
"Everything's so fast, it's hard to keep up."
"It's the other drivers. People are so rude these days, less patient."
Concentration and reactions
You may find it more difficult to concentrate on your driving and to keep your attention on the right things. Your reactions may get slower and you may find it harder to process information as quickly as you need to.
Check and ask yourself:
- Do you significantly reduce your car speed in order to read road signs or to understand the layout of the road?
- Do you know that if you slow down excessively, this can come as a surprise or a frustration to other drivers behind you?
- Do you find it harder to judge your speed - or the speed of other road users?
- Is all of your attention narrowly focused on the road ahead, not noticing other road users?
You may find it more difficult to remember new information presented to you, which may affect how safely you drive. For example, you may see a warning sign for ‘children crossing’, but, if you don't retain this information, you may not be prepared when you approach this hazard. If you're unable to remember speed limit information, you may not be travelling at legal or appropriate speeds.
Medicines can affect your ability to react quickly and think clearly when you're driving.
- Check with your doctor about any medicines you have been prescribed.
- Driving under the influence of drugs is a criminal offence, even if the medication has been prescribed by a doctor.
- Always read the instructions on medicines and ask your doctor if in any doubt about whether they might affect your driving.