More people are are driving for longer than even before. Today, two thirds of people aged 70 and over still hold a driving licence, compared with less than 40% in the mid 1990s.
However, recently released road casualty figures for 2019 show a 9% increase in the number of people aged 60 and over killed in road collisions (from 588 in 2018 to 638 in 2019).
Road safety and breakdown organisation 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 process of ageing is different for every single person,” said GEM’s chief executive Neil Worth.
“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.”
Meanwhile, here are GEM’s 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.