At what age should we stop driving?
Spanish legislation does not limit the maximum age to be able to drive, although it sets certain limitations with the terms of license renewal. You just have to pass a medical examination, quite light, to get more years of license. But you have to be responsible and know how to leave the wheel on time. For this we give you some tips to know when to make that decision.
Despite the fact that cars are becoming safer , so far this year the number of accidents on Spanish roads is growing. Undoubtedly, one of the keys, together with the lack of actions by the DGT beyond putting radars, is in the age of the vehicle fleet , which is already close to 14 years on average.
But another very important piece of information offered by Cleverea, a company specializing in online insurance for cars and motorcycles, is that in Spain there are a million people who drive between the ages of 65 and 69, approximately 700,000 between 70 and 75 years old and some 500,000 who follow circulating with more than 76 years.
And that is another very important factor in this growth in accidents . With the increase in life expectancy and the need to make long journeys, people continue to drive until an increasingly advanced age. In Spain, the only requirement to renew your driving license is to pass a very light medical examination.
Older people have vision or hearing problems that can create hazards.
And, a procedure that would be essential to improve road safety, interconnect the data of driving licenses with those of public health , has been avoided . This would allow many cards to be withdrawn before an accident occurs, due to some illnesses, both physical and mental, or due to the adverse effects of medications .
The class B permit, for passenger cars, must be renewed every 10 years until the age of 65 and, from then on, it must be done every 5 years. Also, if the Driver Recognition Center thinks it should expire sooner, you can mark a shorter review . And if the person who renews the card suffers from a serious illness, these centers are obliged to demand a medical certificate or a report before processing the renewal of the card.
However, it is the driver himself who must inform the center of said illness and, of course, he may or may not do so. Or what is the same, it is in the hands of the driver that the center has said information.
The driver decides
For this reason, the only responsibility when making this important decision – to stop driving – lies with the driver himself. The key is that the person who is no longer able to drive a car must understand that if he does so, he not only risks his life or that of those who go with him, but he can also endanger the other road users.
Over the years, the ailments begin to arrive and with them the medication, which can limit driving.
Cleverea reminds us of a series of signs that can help us assess whether it is time to leave the car parked forever. A decision that, according to its CEO, Javier Bosch, must be viewed on the positive side: less spending, less risk and less stress. “The key is to anticipate emotionally, talk about it with the family, listen to our loved ones and implement alternatives to continue fully enjoying life in conditions of well-being and safety,” he concludes.
So when should we stop driving? These can be the keys:
1- When we have the feeling that other drivers whistle us more often than normal. During a journey there is always a driver who uses the horn excessively, but if we start to see that this happens regularly, it is possible that we are doing something wrong more often than normal.
2- If we start to get lost even on familiar paths. It is normal to get lost, but getting lost in familiar areas is a sign that we are no longer as agile-minded as before.
3- When mishaps , small bumps, friction when parking increase. This also connotes that our attention and perception of the environment has decreased. The same can be used if for some time now they have given us more fines.
4- If we get more scares when driving. If we do not see pedestrians or cyclists in advance, for example.
5- When we get confused frequently and get out of the lane . Another indication that our attention is no longer what it was. According to the DGT, distracted driving is the cause of 30% of road accidents.
6- When driving begins to tire us or stresses us more than before and therefore we drive more slowly than usual. Going slow does not mean going safer. In addition, a car that drives below the recommended speed can be dangerous, which is why this practice is sanctioned.
7- At the moment when our companions in the car begin to complain about our driving. If they haven’t done it before, it’s possible that something has changed.
8- If driving at night already worries us too much. Nobody sees the same at night as during the day, but if night driving starts to be a problem, the most sensible thing is not to do it.
9- When some physical problem limits our mobility behind the wheel. If it is difficult to move the head to park or we no longer have as much agility in the legs to change the pedal. Or when we don’t see or hear clearly.
10- When we have a hard time recognizing the signs or we miss some of them. Sometimes that is no longer a problem of sight, but of mental agility.
However, getting older does not mean that the faculties are lost suddenly. According to Cleverea , staying active , controlling your sight and hearing, keeping an eye on your medication … can be key to extending our life behind the wheel. Regarding medicines, it must be taken into account that many of them reduce the ability to drive and some are even prohibited when getting behind the wheel. In the DGT road controls , a large percentage of drivers test positive for some drug. And you have to know that the criminal consequences are the same as if you had given it for alcohol or drugs.
Another option to drive longer may be to change vehicles . A smaller car, an automatic car, a more visible navigator… can be key to safer driving at a certain age .
Also, being aware of the limitations is a big step. Do not make long trips, avoid driving in bad weather, opt for highways or motorways instead of conventional roads, ride in the right lane whenever possible, do not drive at night or during rush hours… it will also improve our sensations behind the wheel and with it everyone’s safety.