What new challenges does driving bring for the over-70s?

Health
27 November 2015
Driving can be a major benefit for people who have left work, but it also brings new challenges - particularly for the over-70s.

Driving a car can be very important to the over-50s, as it is often essential for things such as making a trip to see your children after they've moved out of home. 

This is particularly the case for those who have left work, as driving offers a vital key to getting out and about and exploring as much as possible - whether this is travel abroad, visits to old friends, or simply a few days out. 

However, driving can bring fresh new challenges with age - and this is particularly the case for the over-70s, who are required to renew their licence every three years. 

With this in mind, we have come up with a list of a few points worth considering when it comes to driving. 

Affordability

Affordability is likely to be a key concern for those who have started drawing their pension. Whether or not you are able to afford to drive depends on how much money you have available. 

There are many costs to consider that you will need to budget for. These include potential maintenance and servicing costs, money for any repairs, MOT and car tax charges, regular fuel purchases and insurance. 

If money is tight or the car is unlikely to get regularly used, you could always consider giving up ownership of a car and simply hiring a vehicle whenever you need to. 

Practicality

After costs, there are other practicalities to consider too. Think about how much use you are likely to get out of a car compared to how much it costs. 

There is no need to reduce your use to the point where you are no longer able to do things that make you happy and contribute to your quality of life, but if a car would only be used for visiting family and going to the shops, is the expenditure justified? 

New car

If you decide you do need a car, then maybe you would also be thinking about buying a new one. There are many advantages and disadvantages to this approach. 

For instance, newer cars tend to have more safety features than older models and are also more fuel efficient, which can save money on refuelling at service stations in the long run. However, the upfront costs may be prohibitive - and its value will only depreciate over time. 

Renewing your licence at 70

Driving licences expire when the holder reaches 70, which means they will have to reapply - and have this renewed every three years after that. This is free of charge and renewal forms are automatically sent out 90 days before the person's 70th birthday. 

The process is straightforward and only requires the form to be returned complete with the old licence and a passport-sized photo. Alternatively a licence can be renewed online on the government's website. 

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