Let’s Help Our Older Relatives Stay Safe At The Wheel

Elderley couple giving a thumbs up driving a new car.

Perry’s is asking family members to be wise to the signs of hazardous driving in their older relatives. There are over four million motorists aged over 70 in the United Kingdom. Many of them are still motoring into their 90s, and at least 500 centenarians still have driving licences.


Perrys’ motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, comments: “As many motorists as possible should be able to enjoy driving for as long as possible – as long as they are safe. Warning signs connected to failing health or decreased ability can advance little by little in older drivers. This often means they won’t be cognisant of the mounting risks they may pose to themselves and other road users.”

Be Watchful

Tim added: “The only obligation in law for any motorist aged over 70 years old is to affirm every three years that they are fit to drive. With no re-testing or mandatory eyesight examinations, it’s essential that relatives and friends are willing to keep a watchful eye on elderly drivers – and take suitable action if there’s cause for concern.”

Immediate Danger Signs

We, at Perry’s, suggest the following signs that imply a high risk of danger with a need for direct action:

  • ‘Close call’ moments where a collision almost happens
  • Prangs and scrapes on the car due to hitting posts, fences, or kerbs
  • Frequent traffic penalty tickets, such as red traffic light violations

Early Warning Signs

We also recommend family and friends watch out for the following common clues that could imply an escalation in the risks posed by an elderly driver. Most are seemingly insignificant on their own, but can add up to present a drastically increased risk:

  • Diminished awareness of drivers coming from the side or the rear
  • Trouble seeing traffic lights and road signs
  • Sluggish reaction when required to brake or alter direction suddenly
  • Not reacting to an approaching emergency siren
  • Mixing up the accelerator and brake pedals
  • Getting nervous or angry over minor matters
  • Inconsistent decision-making
  • Trouble looking over shoulders to check before pulling out
  • Wandering in and out of lanes on motorways and dual carriageways
  • Failing to indicate correctly (or at all)
  • Failing to cancel an indicator
  • Missing familiar turnings or exits

Safety Comes First

“If you think that there is a good reason to be worried about an older relative, then try to have a casual, friendly natter. If your relative or friend is reluctant to have that chat, you could try to advise their GP, or if all else fails, you could notify the DVLA. You can do this anonymously if you’d rather,” says Tim Barnes-Clay.

“Safety has to be everyone’s main concern, even if you risk offending some close to you. The possible consequences of not acting are ultimately far worse.”