Driving Safely in the UK for Seniors


Posted on: 02 June 2017 by Layla Tovey

Senior drivers are more likely to be injured or killed in a collision due to their physical frailty. In addition, they can violate certain traffic rules, including unsafe turns, overtaking, disobeying traffic signals and failure to find the right way or direction

In the UK, there are around 4,018,900 people up to the age of 70, who have their full driving license, says the RAC Foundation. The UK traffic conditions are deemed alarming, as it was found that the death rates of older drivers because of collisions, are higher than their younger counterparts. 

If you are concerned that you are not able to drive the way you used to be or if you feel that you are putting yourself as well as others at risk, consider these driving tips before you have an accident.

Do Not Forget to Renew Your Driving Licence: It's a very important to keep in mind that you may need to renew your driving licence every three years after you turn 70.

Check the Vehicle Is Apt for You: Sometimes it is the vehicle that may be not suitable for you. Seniors who have pain or discomfort in the arms find it easier to drive an automatic car instead of one with heavier power-assisted steering.

Assess Your Driving Skills: Health problems become more prevalent when you become older, therefore at age 70 and every two years thereafter, drivers should talk to a GP or a health professional or a driving instructor for an assessment. Also, it is important that elderly people who show signs of cognitive impairment are assessed by the doctor to ensure that they are fit to take the wheel. 

Wear a Safety Belt: Do not forget to wear a safety belt so the shoulder strap fits properly across your chest and the bottom strap sits low on your pelvis.

Sit 10 Inches Away from Steering Wheel: This is to give an adequate time and space to the airbag to open and expand.

Wear Corrective lenses, if required: Those elderly people who find operating a motor vehicle simple during daylight, but difficult during the night should wear corrective lenses to improve the vision.

Raise the seat: Keep the driver’s seat high enough so that you can easily see over the steering wheel.

Stop driving if:

·   Your eyesight getting suddenly worse

·   Your medical condition does not allow you to drive- Consult your GP for this

·   You find it stressful to manage the traffic conditions

Car Tools for the Elderly:

Make Adaptations in the Car: If your car is not suitable for you, make some minor changes to the existing car, such as making some adjustments in the driver’s seat, fitting auxiliary mirrors to help full area vision. If modifications are not possible, switch to a different model, perhaps one which gives a better view of the road traffic or which is easier to handle. 

Satellite Navigation: Getting stuck in an unfamiliar place can be challenging, but a street map will give turn-by-turn voice instructions to guide you to your destination. You can use the free Bing Maps to find your present location and a live flow of the current traffic in that place.

Sciatica cushion to Support Posture: Elderly people, who are suffering from severe back pain or who have a serious sciatica problem, should always keep such cushion in their car to avoid pain and numbness.  Sciatica cushions are comfortable, helps to sit in the right posture and make back pain much more manageable.

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Layla Tovey

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