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With Age Comes Experience

With Age Comes Experience

Here’s a New Year  resolution for you. The next time you are out driving and come up behind an old car – usually a Rover 25 – being driven by what appears to be Gollum’s dad wearing a flat cap, spare a thought and have a bit of charity because, by the grace of your deity, one day this will be you. Only after you’ve done this is it acceptable for you to overtake whilst muttering “shouldn’t be allowed on the road” under your breath.

Only now, you can’t even do that because older drivers, it is established, are just as safe as anybody else – and that’s official. They might well be slower but that’s just because they have a better attitude to road safety and deal with hazards in a more experienced way. So there.

Historically, it has often been accepted that as a person ages so their reactions become sluggish and the opportunity for disaster is increased. To an extent this is correct but a recent survey reports that drivers over the age of seventy five reacted just as quickly as any other age group in a straightforward emergency situation – the sudden appearance of a car out of a side road, for example. The effects of old age – less physical mobility, sight problems and so on don’t make that much difference. Apparently, drivers over 70 make up some 9% of motorists but only 6% of the casualty statistics.

The reasons are probably obvious. Older people do not drive as fast and they leave larger gaps behind leading cars. These old codgers don’t have it all their own way though as they are likely to make less use of the rear view mirror and have a habit of stopping short at junctions.

It is officially recommended that ageing motorists get the once-over from their GP to check on things like arthritis or similar debilitating problems as needed for their general fitness to drive. We are all advised to take regular breaks and refreshments on long journeys but, it is suggested, the aged ones should maybe take more. With driving, good observation is vital. Older drivers can misinterpret or misjudge situations which may well be why they tend to drive more sedately.

So give these old timers a break. Old age comes to us all and, at some point, there will come a time when we’ll know in our heart of hearts that it is time to hand over the keys. But look on the bright side – when you are in your dotage and a passenger in your family’s car you can look out the window at the ageing slowcoach in front and hurl abuse as you flash by. It’s your entitlement.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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