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Mature Drivers

There is an emerging trend in road casualties involving people aged 65 and over.

In response to an ever ageing population, resulting in an emerging trend for casualties aged 65 and over, the team have developed a road safety seminar.

Road Safety Seminars for Mature Drivers

The seminar covers general road safety advice, including motorway driving, motorway breakdowns, Smart motorways, and eco driving, as well as topics specific to this age group, such as decline in peripheral vision, reduced mobility and impairment through prescribed drugs.

To obtain more qualitative data, focus groups for road users aged 65+ were held in April 2017. Although there are some additional issues as we age, many drivers in this age group recognise these changes and self -regulate by avoiding certain driving situations, such as driving at night, during rush hour or on certain types of road.

Whilst many older drivers continue to drive safety and confidently for many years, some mature drivers gradually reduce the amount of driving they do and look at alternative means of transport.

Drivers may want to take a driving assessment to update their skills and give themselves more confidence. Details of the assessment, alongside lots of other useful information, can be found on the ROSPA older drivers’ website, or more local is South East DriveAbility kcht.sedriveability@nhs.net.

Contact us to find out when and where  the next Mature Drivers Conference will be held (nothing arranged at the moment due to Covid-19).

Whilst we can’t deliver face-to-face sessions we have created some online resources to help our mature drivers with many aspects of staying in the driving seat:

Introduction to Mature Driving

Driving Licences

Please remember it is your responsibility to make sure all your details are up-to-date and correctly displayed on your driving licence. This includes your photo image on your new style photo card driving licence.

Mobile Phones

Handheld mobile phones are illegal to be used whilst driving with the fine being £200 and 6 points on your licence.  Just turn the volume off and leave the phone in your handbag or glove compartment.  Likewise, handsfree phones can still affect your concentration and your reaction time, so  it is better not to plan to make calls whilst you are driving. Keep yourself safe and put all your concentration into driving.

Breakdowns

Breaking down is something most drivers fear. Always carry an emergency breakdown pack in your vehicle containing at least a high visibility jacket and a drink. Read the tips on our website.  Here are just a few of them:

  • Get your vehicle off the road if possible
  • Warn other traffic by putting your hazard warning lights on and don’t let your vehicle cause an obstruction
  • Wear light coloured or fluorescent clothing outside the vehicle in daylight and reflective clothing at night or in bad visibility
  • If you have a warning triangle in your vehicle put it at least 45meters (147 feet) behind your vehicle. But not on a motorway as it’s too dangerous
  • Leave your side lights on if its dark or bad visibility
  • Do not stand, or let anyone else stand, between the vehicle and the moving traffic
  • At night or in poor visibility do not stand where it would obstruct the view of your lights

If you breakdown on the motorway

  • If possible, leave the motorway at the next exit or pull onto the hard shoulder and turn your wheels to the left
  • Try and stop near an emergency phone if you can
  • Always leave the vehicle by the nearside doors, away from the moving traffic and if you have animals in the vehicle leave them there or make sure they are under proper control
  • If you don’t have a mobile phone walk to the nearest emergency telephone on your side of the carriageway, follow the arrows on the posts at the side of the road
  • If you feel at risk return to your vehicle by the nearside doors and lock yourself in.

Smart Motorways

The technology is controlled from regional control centres which can activate and change signs and variable speed limits. This helps keep the traffic flowing more smoothly.

There are three types of Smart motorway:

  • Dynamic hard shoulder: where the hard shoulder is temporarily opened up to traffic
  • All lane running: where the full width of the road is usable with emergency refuge areas alongside
  • Controlled motorway: with three or more lanes, a hard shoulder and variable speed limits

All Smart motorways have :

  • electronic message signs that display Red X signs and variable speed limits
  • sensors to monitor traffic volumes
  • CCTV cameras
  • emergency areas, with emergency roadside telephones
  • Never drive in a lane closed by a Red X.
  • Keep to the speed limits shown.
  • A hard shoulder is always identified by a solid white unbroken line – if there’s no speed limit displayed above it or a Red X is displayed, do not use it except in emergency.
  • A broken white line indicates a normal running lane.
  • If the hard shoulder is being used as an extra lane, use the designated emergency areas for emergencies.

Fatigue

Driver fatigue is a contributory factor in up to 20% of road crashes and up to 25% of fatal and serious crashes.

How can you recognise driver fatigue before you fall asleep?

Trouble focussing or narrowing of attention

Head nodding, or inability to keep your eyes open.

Not remembering the last few minutes – zoning out

Poor judgement and slower reaction time

Constant yawning or rubbing your eyes

Drifting within the lanes and hearing the lane departure warnings (rumble strips) to alert you of this.

It is also important to think about various health conditions:

Arthritis

This can affect mobility, physical strength, motor skills and co-ordination, and you need to understand your limitations.  A stiffness in the neck can make looking over your shoulder difficult to change lanes, or looking right and left at junctions, or reversing

Dementia

This can result in slower response time; memory loss and confusion and medical advice should be taken.

Diabetes

9% of the adult population with Type 2 diabetes will develop Peripheral Neuropathy which is the inability to feel and push the pedals underfoot, and how far they are pushed down.  This means it could be difficult to control the accelerator and brake.  However, it may be possible to reverse or retrain, or if this is not possible, install hand controls in the car.

Epilepsy

If you have a seizure of any kind, stop driving, speak to your Doctor and inform the DVLA, who will then give you the advice you need before you can resume driving.

Medication

Please beware of new medications which may give you strange symptoms.  In this case, stop driving and seek the advice of your doctor.  Certain cold and flu remedies can also cause sleepiness so doses may need to be adjusted.

Eco-driving

Impairment

Alcohol

Is one drink worth the RISK?  The RISK is you could kill or injure yourself or someone else.

Did you know that 1 drink is not 1 unit, and 1 drink can in fact be several units

Don’t forget the morning after affect – you may have had a heavy drinking session the night before, walked or taken a taxi home and then gone to bed.  However, that alcohol could still be in your system until late morning or even midday so it may not be okay to get up early to drive to work or take a trip to the recycling centre as it’s less busy.

Every collision which involves the Police will result in all drivers being breathalysed, regardless of who is at fault.

Fines for blowing a positive breath test are unlimited, will result in at least a 12-month driving disqualification, but could be more depending on the amount of alcohol found in the body, a criminal record, increased insurance premiums and far worse, a serious crash could occur.

Vision

You need to have good vision to drive, so get your eyes checked out at an Opticians at least every 2 years, and in some cases a yearly check is advised.  And for Over 60s it’s FREE!

Cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration can affect your eyesight so it’s very important to keep up your appointments.

Did you know you need to be able to read a number plate in good light at a distance of 20M. Check this out at home if you feel unsure.

Seat Belts/Child Restraints

We all know its Law we must wear our seat belts, The fine for not wearing one is £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500

For those of you that are grandparents, did you know that by Law children have to travel in a high backed booster seat until they are aged 12, or  reach 135cm in height – whichever comes first. But what about smaller children? There are lots of retailers who should be able to help you. Did you know rearward facing is far safer and can be used for children up to 4 years old in some circumstances.  Do your research.  Rear facing can protect the child’s neck, head and internal organs in the event of a collision.

Please remember your children or grandchildren trust you to keep them safe.

RoSPA Experienced Driver Assessments

RoSPA offer an Experienced Driver Assessment that many older drivers take to update their skills and improve their confidence on the roads. Details of this assessment, alongside lots of other useful information, can be found on the RoSPA Older Drivers website.

Smiling mature woman sitting in new car at driver seat

Key statistics

Over half of all collisions involving a 65+ year old car driver, where failing to properly look or judge other road user’s behaviour was a contributory factor .

Programmes