How to Know When it’s Time to Consider Giving Up Driving

Getting old is one of the few inevitable aspects of life, and as you age you may find your abilities behind the wheel starting to wane. But when should you give up for good? And how do you know when you’ve reached this point? Scrap Car Comparison has been looking into the whens, whys and hows and hopefully will be able to guide you through what can be a very difficult decision.

If you’re sure that the time has come, then your car is going to be sitting there with nothing to do. It may be the best thing for your car to send it on one final journey to the scrap yard – especially if it’s been at your side for decades. By using Scrap Car Comparison you’re guaranteeing yourself the very best price for your car, no matter what – and we’ll even come and collect it for free! All it takes is one phone call and within 60 seconds you’ll be given an unbeatable quote, providing you with a nice chunk of cash to enjoy your retirement with!

Is there an age limit for continuing to drive?

There is no age limit when it comes to driving. Once you’re 17 and have passed your test, you are free to drive for as long as you remain legally able to do so (i.e. you are not disqualified for driving offences or on medical grounds). However, your licence will expire at the age of 70, so you will need to renew it after your 70th birthday. This process will then continue on a three-yearly basis.

What’s the average age people give up driving?

On average, drivers expect to be driving until they are 82 years old. What gets more interesting is when these statistics are broken down even further, as those under the age of 70 believe they’ll hang up their driving gloves (because you’ll have those at that age) at 79.8, whereas those over the age of 70 reckon they can keep going until they’re 84.7. These figures are as a result of a survey of older drivers carried out by IAM RoadSmart, a road safety charity.

Are there medical conditions or medications that can stop you driving?

There are indeed a wide range of medical conditions that can disqualify you from driving, and there are far too many – and their variations – for us to list here. Chances are, however, that you will already be aware if your condition will cause you to have to park up as your doctor should inform you of this. In this instance, you should always inform the DVLA of this latest diagnosis or change in your abilities. You may choose to voluntarily give up your licence, otherwise the DVLA may have to make that decision for you.

If you’re not sure if your condition falls under this category, you can check it on the DVLA’s website, which has a list of a wide range of conditions and what to do if you have one. 

There are also certain medications that restrict your ability to drive, and getting behind the wheel with them in your system can be illegal. If you have been prescribed them, you may still be able to drive providing you have followed your doctor’s instructions correctly. If you have been prescribed any of the following, you should speak to your doctor about your ability to drive:

  • amphetamine, for example dexamphetamine or selegiline
  • clonazepam
  • diazepam
  • flunitrazepam
  • lorazepam
  • methadone
  • morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, for example codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
  • oxazepam
  • temazepam

Signs you may need to consider giving up driving

It is unlikely that you’re going to wake up one morning and no longer be in a fit state to drive, and you’ll often notice that certain aspects of driving become more difficult as you age, and these could be the warning signs you need to keep a lookout for.

If your reactions are slowing, then you could be putting yourself, and others, in greater danger by being on the road. Not only could you find yourself not swerving out of the way of a sudden hazard (such as an animal or broken down car), but you may also not notice traffic lights changing, putting you in a very dangerous position. With this in mind, your eyesight is one of your most important abilities – if you’re struggling to see like you used to, then driving is going to become much more difficult.

Finally, if you’re getting a bit nervous every time you get behind the wheel then that’s a fairly clear sign that it’s time to reconsider having a licence. Driving while nervous is never a good thing, and even if you’re slowing down, that doesn’t help either – sometimes driving too slow can be as dangerous, if not more, than speeding.

Who decides if you are fit to drive?

While your doctor can make recommendations about your ability to drive, it is the DVLA who has the ultimate power when it comes to declaring whether you are fit or not to remain on the road. In many cases, when you inform the DVLA of your condition, they will provide a decision on whether or not they deem you capable of getting back behind the wheel.

At what age do you need to renew your driving licence?

Your driver’s licence will expire when you turn 70, regardless of when you first passed your driving test. However, all this means is that you need to renew it, and every three years after that.

Do you need to retake your driving test at a certain age?

While your licence will expire at 70, you will not need to retake your test. In fact, there is no specified age where a retest is required. If you are starting to get worried about your driving abilities as you get older, you could voluntarily sit an Experienced Driver Assessment (EDA). This is not a driving test, but, as the name suggests, an assessment of your abilities that will provide a confidential and objective opinion of your driving.

What are the laws around eyesight and driving?

There are watertight rules surrounding eyesight and driving, all of which can be found on the DVLA website. We have reproduced these rules here for your benefit:

“You must be able to read (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) a car number plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres.

You must also meet the minimum eyesight standard for driving by having a visual acuity of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) measured on the Snellen scale (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) using both eyes together or, if you have sight in one eye only, in that eye.

You must also have an adequate field of vision – your optician can tell you about this and do a test.”

What to do if you decide to stop driving [e.g. surrendering your licence, sell/scrap/sorn car]

If you have made the decision to stop driving, then the very first thing you should do is inform the DVLA and surrender your driving licence. This means noting down your Driving Licence number on a Declaration of Surrender form, and posting both the form and your licence to the DVLA’s headquarters.

Now that your car is no longer required, your next course of action is figuring out what to do with it. If it is particularly old and has simply been driving you to the shops and back, you may find your best option is to sell with Scrap Car Comparison. We have ATF partners and collection agents based all over the UK, which means we’re able to collect your car directly from your door, totally free of charge, no matter where you are. All it takes is one phone call to us on 03333 44 99 50 or to simply use our scrap car price calculator to get your vehicle priced up today!

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