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Older drivers - driving safely for life

Are you an older driver?

If you're looking to the future and considering how to stay safe and independent, then this information is for you. Our information, aimed at older and disabled people and based on independent research, is completely unbiased.

We held focus groups with older drivers and their relatives and consulted with experts on road safety to produce some guidance below.

an older man standing at the driver's door of a car, holding a car key up

Download a PDF: Driving safely for life (PDF)

For most people, driving is part of life. Most of us drive every week if not every day and we enjoy driving as much as we rely on it.

Older drivers told us:

Woman wearing red coat driving

"It's my freedom, my independence."

"My family are all so far away."

"I've got to drive, I take my wife to her hospital appointments."

"I love driving. I've always had this zest for wanting to drive."

Driving and safety

Just about everything involves risk and motoring is no exception. By understanding the risk and taking steps to minimise it you can help keep yourself and others safe.

Things to think about:

Heavy traffic on the M6 motorway

  • driving conditions: time of day, weather, road layout and surface, other road users
  • your car: maintenance, design and safety features, accessories and equipment
  • yourself: refresher training, experience, health and capabilities and even your mood

You can read more about driving safely here.

Driving and age

Older drivers:

  • often have long records of safe driving
  • are the least likely to be involved in an accident (statistics for drivers aged over 55)
  • have greater chances of being seriously injured - those over 65 are frailer and more vulnerable

However, the roads are very different these days with more cars driving faster and more aggressively and new road layouts like multi-lane junctions that some drivers find confusing. Drivers have particular difficulty with junctions, merging traffic, right turns and busy roads.

Many people find their abilities change as they get older, especially if they have health problems, and these changes may affect the way you drive.

Technology is now available in many cars and this can help many older drivers:

Acknowledgements: This guidance was researched and written by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumer, with funding from the Department for Transport, the RAC Foundation and the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund and in partnership with Driving Mobility (the network of Mobility Centres), PACTS and the Gifford Partnership.

Last updated: December 2018

Next: Health and wellbeing | See also: Motoring research portal | Primary driving controls research report