Dementia Awareness Week IAM offers advice for driving as we get older

In Driving in the UK by Jonathan Humphrey

The IAM Road Safety Charity offer advice for Dementia Awareness Week

Peter Rodger top advanced driver offers motoring tips for drivers in an ageing population. This week is Dementia Awareness Week, dementia mainly affects people over the age of 65 – an age group which makes up 25 per cent of the UK driving population – Peter also offers tips for older drivers.

  • Currently motorists are required to renew their licence at 70, and then every three years after that. Make sure you keep up to date with your renewals, or you could end up driving illegally.
  • When you renew your license you are asked to self-certify the state of your health. Be honest with yourself – it may be worth going for an all-round check-up with your GP before you choose which box to tick.
  • Whether it is time to renew or not, you have a legal requirement to inform the DVLA as soon as possible if you are diagnosed with dementia.
  • Your eyesight will inevitably deteriorate as you age, but the lawrequires drivers to be able to read a car number plate from a distance of 20 metres, whatever your age – If you need glasses or contact lenses to do this, they must be worn at all times when driving.
  • If you are diagnosed with a condition which causes vision impairment, the law says you must inform the DVLA. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
  • Research has proven older drivers are as safe as or safer than other age groups. But bad habits do creep in over time, and it may be worth considering giving your driving a check-up. Online and on-road assessments are available for older drivers to make sure your driving is still up to scratch.

IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger said: “As we age, unfortunately our health will deteriorate, which may mean that it’s time to hang up the driving gloves. A diagnosis of dementia is not necessarily a reason to stop driving immediately. What you should consider is whether you are still able to drive safely, what steps you can take to ensure you are up to the job, and what legal requirements you have to register your illness.

“Experienced motorists may feel that driving is very much an automated activity, but must remember that it is actually a highly complex task that requires acute observation and manual skills.”