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How to decide when to stop driving

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It can be an incredibly sobering thought to realise you are not able to drive safely anymore, but it can also be quite a freeing realisation. Regardless of how long we’ve been behind the wheel, there comes a point in our lives when we all decide to give up driving as we get too old to do so safely. But when is the right time to stop driving? Here are a few signs you might want to look out for if you feel you might have reached the end of the road as far as your driving career is concerned.

What does the law say?

There is no ‘maximum’ legal age for drivers, but you do need to renew your driving licence from the age of 70. Fail to do so and you will be on the road illegally. The good news is that renewal is free and just because you’ve reached the age of 70 that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t drive anymore.

Why is it so hard to stop?

Pulling the plug on your driving license because you’re too old to drive can be difficult for a multitude of reasons. In many ways, it can feel like giving away your freedom and independence, which can be a tough pill to swallow when you’re used to being able to get to the shops without relying on anybody else. But it’s nowhere near as difficult to be a non-driver as it has been in the past. Ride-sharing apps like Uber are really easy and affordable to use and bus and train services are more reliable than they have ever been.

How to know when to stop

If any of the following signs apply to you then it might be time to consider stopping driving:-

  • Your physical health rapidly declines. For example, you have noticed poor eyesight or poor reaction times.
  • You become more stressed than usual when driving and find it tricky to operate the vehicle without assistance.
  • You’re increasingly experiencing more near-misses on the road or have decided you’re having regular minor accidents.
  • You’re finding it hard to pay attention and avoid distractions when on the road.
  • You find yourself getting lost, especially in places you have been to many times before.
  • Parking is becoming a chore when it used to feel easy.

What steps to take

Stopping cold turkey might not be an option. A good idea might be to sell your existing car and lease a car on a short lease that you can cancel when you’ve finally decided it’s time to stop. It is a life-changing decision, but it is one that is possible to make with minimal disruption as long as you’re realistic with your expectations and are honest with yourself about your current capabilities.


Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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