Learning to drive when you’re older

If you didn’t have the chance, or just didn’t need to learn to drive when you were younger, here’s what you need to know when learning to drive later in life.

If you didn’t have the chance, or just didn’t need to learn to drive when you were younger, here’s what you need to know when learning to drive later in life.

Julie Daniels
Insurance expert
minute read
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Last Updated 8 AUGUST 2022

Am I too old to learn to drive?

No, you can learn to drive at any age. Not everyone learns how to drive at 17, with the cost of driving lessons and owning a car being too expensive for younger people. This means some adults wait until they’re older to learn how to drive.

In 2022, almost six million people aged 70 or older in Great Britain have a driving licence, so there’s nothing stopping you driving well into your old age. However, you will need to renew your driving licence when you turn 70, then every three years.

Will it take me longer to learn how to drive because I’m older?

Being an older learner driver shouldn’t necessarily mean it takes longer to learn than a younger driver. How long it takes to learn how to drive really depends on you.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has previously said that it takes around 45 hours of lessons and 22 hours of additional practice to learn to drive, although official advice is now that no set number of lessons or amount of practice is needed.

Will I find it harder to pass my driving test as an older adult?

Unfortunately, statistics show that older learner drivers do find it harder to pass their driving test. As a general trend, the older you get, the harder it is to pass.

For example, between April 2020 and March 2021, 17-year-olds had the highest pass rate of 63.5%, while drivers 60 and over had a pass rate of 32.7%.

While it’s true statistically that you’re less likely to pass your driving test first time as an older driver, the figures also show that there’s not a huge difference in the pass rate between the ages of 30 and 50. At 30, the average pass rate is 44.3%, at 40 it’s 37.9%, while at 50 it’s 34.4%

Am I more likely to have an accident because I’m older?

Statistically, older drivers are involved in far fewer collisions than younger drivers.

When mileage is considered, there’s a steep and then steady fall in the number of collisions between the ages of 17 and 70. This is likely due to more experience on the road. However, from 71 and over, the number of collisions per mile driven increases drastically, meaning that drivers over 70 are statistically more likely to have an accident when on the road.

Am I fit enough to drive?

Older drivers can remain perfectly fit to drive until well into their later life. But it’s true that some of the elements involved in safe driving – vision, hearing, and muscle power and control – can deteriorate as we get older.

It’s worth getting checked regularly for any sight or hearing issues, as well as any other health problems that may have an effect on your driving.

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