Retiring from the Road
There is no set age at which you should retire from the road and many people continue to drive safely well into their 80s, 90s and beyond. DVLA figures show that 134,000 Brits aged 90 + still held a driving licence in 2022.
So, when is the right time to think about stopping? If you’re an older driver or are worried about an elderly friend or relative who is still driving, read our guide to retiring from the road for helpful hints and tips about staying safe when you’re behind the wheel and what to do when you think it may be time to hang up your driving gloves for good!
All motorists over the age of 70 must reapply for their driving licence every three years. Although there is no test or medical required you will have to sign a declaration confirming that you meet the medical standards set out by the DVLA (DVA in Northern Ireland).
If you have a notifiable condition you may be required to complete a questionnaire or have a medical assessment.
Remember – having a notifiable condition does not necessarily mean that you must surrender your licence.
Everyone’s eyesight deteriorates with age – in fact over 96% of UK adults aged 60+ require some form of vision correction.
With advancing years our night vision and contrast sensitivity (how our eyes distinguish an object from its background) also decline, making driving at night or in low light conditions more difficult.
As we age our pupils shrink and allow less light to enter the eye. This can make older drivers feel as though they are wearing dark sunglasses at night.
It’s vital that your vision meets the DVLA’s eyesight standards every time you get behind the wheel. The first step towards ensuring your vision’s roadworthy is to ensure you have regular sight tests – at least every two years.
Your optometrist will be able to assess your vision and prescribe any vision correction required to meet your legal obligations. He or she can also offer advice on how to make your driving experience more comfortable. Eg sharing strategies for boosting your contrast sensitivity or resisting glare.
Regular sight tests will also ensure the early detection of conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. Left untreated these conditions can all affect your ability to comply with DVLA regulations and drive safely.
Be honest with your optometrist and share any concerns you may have about your vision. They may be able to offer a simple solution to overcome the difficulties you have experienced.
Before you’re ready to give up driving for good you may decide to change your driving habits by cutting down on the number of miles you drive per week, driving less at night or keeping to familiar routes. This is often a sensible approach.
Planning when to stop will help make the transition to becoming a non-driver easier. Take control and consider how you would get about and do everyday activities without using your car.
Alternatives might include using your free bus pass, taking a lift from family or friends; using your local supermarket’s free home delivery service, even taking taxis. You may be surprised at how many taxi fares you can afford when you don’t have to pay for the running costs and upkeep of your own car!
If you’re worried about an elderly friend or relative talk to them and offer support to help them look after their vision and plan towards retirement.
When you have made the decision to retire from the road you should inform the DVLA and surrender your licence.
Find out more here
Or write to:
Drivers Customer Services
Or in Northern Ireland contact
Driver Licensing Division
Tel: 0845 402 4000