I'm worried about someone's driving

If you think someone's driving ability has deteriorated or their reactions aren’t as sharp as they used to be, they may need help to consider their options.

It can be difficult to spot that someone is becoming unsafe to drive and it is even harder for the person to accept. Many people think that they will be forced to stop driving as they become older or develop a medical condition or disability. This is not always the case. An unsafe driver may:

  • Drive too slowly or too fast
  • Struggle to read road signs
  • Struggle to concentrate
  • Have a series of minor crashes or near misses
  • Have difficulty judging distance
  • Use the wrong pedal (for example, the accelerator rather than the brake).

What can I do to check someone’s driving?

1. Think while you are a passenger

Whilst you are a passenger in their car, think about different aspects of their driving. Look out for any unsafe behaviour, such as some of those listed above.

2. Check the vehicle

Check that the car is roadworthy by checking the oil levels, tyre treads etc. Also check for any scrapes or dents as this could be a sign that they are struggling with driving.

3. Take positive action

You may feel that it will be difficult to bring up the subject of someone’s driving, due to fear about how they might respond. However, if you are concerned that they could be a danger not only to themselves but also to others, it is very important that you speak with them. Consider covering:

  • The specific reasons why you are concerned
  • Positive alternative methods of transport – can friends and family provide lifts? Are there good local public transport links that could be used? 
  • Ask to include the doctor to provide another opinion.


Medical conditions and disabilities

If you or someone you know has developed a medical condition or disability that could affect their driving, they must inform the Driver Vehicle Agency (DVLA) even if they are not currently due to renew their licence. The DVLA can:

  • decide whether the person should stop driving based on the information given
  • contact the person’s GP (with their permission)
  • arrange for a doctor or specialist to assess them
  • refer them for a sight test
  • refer them to a Mobility Centre, where they can have an assessment of their driving skills and discuss any suitable adaptations

If you have an accident where your medical condition may have been a factor and you haven’t declared it, you could be prosecuted and your insurance may not cover you.