Seven tips for safer senior driving
GEM Motoring Assist says older drivers can stay safer for longer by reflecting on their driving, and by knowing where they can get expert safety advice.
The statement follows the release of last week’s road casualty figures for 2019, showing a nine per cent increase in the number of people aged 60 and over killed in road collisions (from 588 in 2018 to 638 in 2019).
“We are committed to playing our part in reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on the UK’s roads, regardless of how old they may be or how they use the roads,” said GEM’s chief executive Neil Worth.
“Today two thirds of people aged 70 and over still hold a driving licence, compared with less than 40 per cent in the mid 1990s. So with more people staying mobile for longer, it’s vital we take the time to understand better their vulnerabilities and the situations where they may be at higher risk.
“The process of ageing is different for every single person. That’s why GEM is keen to encourage senior drivers to reflect on their own driving, to understand where they may be experiencing difficulty, and to know where to get practical advice.
“The GEM Experienced Driver Assessment, offered in conjunction with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), is a perfect place to start. After all, it’s usually the first refresher training anyone gets since passing their driving tests 40, 50 or more years previously.
“It has for the past 20 years helped thousands of senior drivers to reflect on their own safety and risk. An assessment, which costs £55, lasts an hour and is spent using road types most appropriate to an individual driver’s usual journeys.
“Equally useful is a commitment from every driver – regardless of age and experience – to be willing to reflect on the risks they may face, and the risks they pose to others. The best drivers are willing to recognise the situations that may lead to increased risk, and to ask where, when and why they occur.
“Learning from those situations, perhaps with some expert help, is a good way for a senior driver to stay as safe as possible for as long as possible.”
GEM has assembled the following seven key tips to help seniors stay safe behind the wheel:
- Get fit and stay fit. If possible, do some exercise for 15 to 20 minutes each day. Get a regular eye test. This allows early detection of possible problems.
- Get a driver MOT, such as GEM’s experienced driver assessment. It’s an enjoyable way of updating your skills.
- Make sure the car you drive best suits your current needs.
- Adapt your driving to avoid journeys that cause you stress or discomfort.
- Reflect on your driving, learn from your mistakes and near misses. Don’t pretend they’re not happening.
- Plan your journeys to avoid using the roads at really busy times, and build in plenty of breaks on longer journeys.
- Listen to the thoughts of family members and friends. If they express concern about your driving, it’s because they care about you staying safe.