Saturday 21 October 2017

Why it is vital more mature drivers keep up to speed

Statistically, elderly drivers are among the safest on our roads. Photo: Getty Images.
Statistically, elderly drivers are among the safest on our roads. Photo: Getty Images.
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

WE hear so much about how risky some young drivers can be that we can easily overlook how many other motorists have let things slip over the years.

I know there are times my driving isn't as good as it should be. I sense that within myself on occasion and work hard at improving it.

Driving isn't a completed state at any stage in our lives but I think lots of people feel it is.

Do not tell me your driving is of such a consistent standard that it couldn't do with a bit of refreshing. If you feel you are that good I'd love to meet you.

Even top drivers - and I was with one recently on a track in Spain - make mistakes. He was honest enough to admit he'd made a booboo on the first leg.

So let's admit we can all improve.

And then set about doing something.

I think that is important especially for those who are getting on in years and may feel a bit threatened by the volume and speed of traffic, new-fangled gadgets on cars and roundabouts.

Oh! dear me, roundabouts. It has been my distinct displeasure to witness every way NOT to negotiate a roundabout - at the Sandyford Industrial estate.

Anyway, I'm prompted to bring up the topic of a 'refresher' - again - by a campaign undertaken by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) in Britain.

It is to get more mature drivers, especially, to have their skills not so much checked out in a clinical way but to have someone give them a hands-on assessment.

They point out that, statistically, elderly drivers are among the safest on our roads and having a sort of 'check-up' of this nature would ensure they stay that way for many years.

The Mature Drivers Assessment (MDA) idea basically lets senior motorists take a 60-minute drive in their own car with an approved assessor who will "offer an impartial second opinion about their driving".

I think it would be a great idea. Is there a way of doing something similar here?

I'm sure there is something somewhere that offers or could offer a service of this nature.

I think elderly drivers in particular would get a great confidence boost from being shown where they could improve.

And being told they are still good drivers.

Or should such an assessment become part and parcel of a 'driver check-up' at certain intervals?

Do let me know what you think please at: ecunningham@independent.ie

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