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Figures from the DVLA last month revealed there are 248 people over the age of 100 with a driving licence. The number, which has halved from 506 last year, comes as the number of over 90s with a valid licence has risen past 100,000 for the first time.
Here are Age UK’s top tips on how to keep safe on the road in later life:
1. Renew your licence
Once you reach the age of 70, your licence expires, but this doesn’t automatically mean you have to stop driving. You just need to renew your driving licence if you want to continue. You’ll need to renew it every three years after that. Renewal is free of charge. The DVLA will send you a D46P application form 90 days before your 70th birthday.
2. Inform the DVLA of any changes to your health
If you’ve developed a medical condition or disability that could affect your driving, you must tell the DVLA, even if you’re not yet due to renew your licence. This also applies if your condition has worsened since your licence was issued.
Many people worry that they’ll be forced to stop driving, but this isn’t necessarily the case.
It’s a legal obligation for you to declare certain conditions to the DVLA. If you have an accident you haven’t declared a health condition, your insurance might not cover you. See the full list of medical conditions and disabilities you must declare on the DVLA website.
Declaring a medical condition doesn’t always mean that you will lose your licence.
You should be able to continue driving if your condition doesn’t affect your ability to drive safely. Or you may need some help to adjust or make adaptations to your car.
If you have a condition which you need to declare to the DVLA, you also need to declare this to your insurer.
3. Check if you qualify for a Blue Badge
If you or your passenger has severe mobility problems, the Blue Badge scheme lets you park nearer your destination than you might otherwise be able to. It gives you exemption from some parking restrictions and access to designated parking spaces.
Blue Badge holders are allowed to park free of charge at on-street parking meters and in pay and display bays and on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours.
For details on how to apply, visit https://www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge
4. Prepare for life without driving
It can be difficult to accept when we’re no longer able to do something safely that has been a routine part of life. But reducing or giving up driving doesn’t mean the end of your independence or mobility.
If you’ve decided to stop driving, or been advised to by the DVLA, there are many ways you can get around and there may be help with transport costs. You may feel worried about the costs of giving up driving and having to pay for public transport but if you add up the amount you spend on car tax, insurance, fuel and maintenance, you may find that using alternatives work out to be less expensive than running a car.
Most people find adjusting to life without a car is difficult at first. If you’re finding life without a car tough and causing you to feel down, talk to a family member, friend or your GP.