There is no legal upper age limit for driving, as some people will be fit and happy to drive for many more years than others. The important thing to remember is that it is entirely the responsibility of the driver to make sure that he or she is still fit to drive. Statistics from the AA show that drivers in their 70s are no more likely to be involved in an accident than 25 year olds, and even people in their 80s are safer than teenage drivers.
Benefitting from Driving Gadgets
If you are experiencing loss of mobility but want to continue to drive, it is a good idea to make sure that the car you are driving is the most suitable for your needs. Just as you might adapt your home to accommodate a mobility problem, for example by installing a stairlift, so it may be appropriate to consider making adaptations to or even replacing your car with a more appropriate model. Minor adaptations might include a seat disc which rotates to allow you to get into and out of your car more easily, and a seatbelt handle, which allows you to reach your belt without having to turn and reach behind you – perfect for people who suffer from arthritis. For added safety you could also add blind spot enhancers to your wing mirrors and a larger rear view mirror.
Choosing a Suitable Vehicle
If you decide to replace your vehicle, look for one with higher seats which can make it much easier for you and your passengers to get into the vehicle. Consider the type of boot you need, as some require you to lift your bags or luggage over a high lip, whereas others have a flat access point so that you don’t need to lift items so high. Some people with reduced mobility find cars with automatic transmission easier to drive. In car gadgets can also be helpful, such as a reversing sensor.
Changing How you Drive
As you get older you may want to consider when and how you drive. If you live in a town or city you may choose to avoid rush hour or the school run, when the roads are busier and driving can be more stressful. You might also want to avoid driving at night, which can be more tiring. As you get older, it becomes harder to do longer car journeys as you can become tired more quickly. If you do decide to undertake a long journey, plan for plenty of rest stops and perhaps an overnight break to recharge your batteries before continuing.
If you aren’t sure about whether you should continue driving, you should always get advice from someone whose opinion you can trust and who will be frank with you. Driving can be a lifeline for people with reduced mobility, and as long as you’re safe to continue, there’s nothing to stop you.