Older drivers urged to get road smart - The Leamington Observer

Older drivers urged to get road smart

OLDER drivers in Warwickshire are being given the chance to sharpen their skills behind the wheel.

Warwickshire County Council has continued its partnership with IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, to provide residents with the opportunity to update their driving skills, increase confidence and safety by taking part in a Mature Drivers Review Initiative.

The first initiative offered 125 drivers the chance to boost their skills and was positively received by the council and local residents. The second wave extends this offer to a further 100 residents to reassure them they are still safe and road smart.

Warwickshire, which is one of several local authorities to work with IAM RoadSmart, purchased the Mature Driver Reviews, to help local residents boost their driving skills and stay safe and mobile for as long as possible.

The pandemic has led to some primary drivers taking a back seat and less experience drivers taking the wheel.

The pandemic and lockdowns have also left four in ten drivers of all ages admitting that were anxious about returning to ‘normal’ traffic levels.

A recent survey of older drivers by IAM RoadSmart and the Department for Transport revealed there were now 12million people with a full driving licence aged 60 and over.

The majority felt they were excellent drivers and would not consider giving up for years. Only a doctor or optician, who were considered the most influential people to give advice on giving up driving, would convince them to relinquish their licence.

Warwickshire transport spokesman Coun Wallace Redford said: “Following on from the first initiative, we decide to extend the offer further to benefit more of our residents.

“The course is designed for those mature drivers who have been driving for 20 plus years to improve their skills and confidence to enable them to continue driving safely for many years to come. With an aging population we want to be proactive and support individuals to maintain their motoring independence for as long as they can, and that means driving safely.

“This time we have 100 courses available. If you, or a friend or relative living in Warwickshire feel you may benefit from this valuable opportunity then please get in touch. We want all our mature drivers to drive safely and with confidence.”

The Mature Driver Review is an hour-long bespoke session, tailored to the individuals needs with an Approved Driving Instructor or qualified IAM RoadSmart Examiner as your assessor. It takes place in a driver’s own vehicle, along familiar routes. At the end of the session the assessor will offer feedback, hints and tips, and observations to improve your skills and boost confidence.

Three local residents – Barbara, Alex, and Charlotte – who took part in the second Mature Driver Review initiative in June, all felt it was beneficial and all wanted to continue driving. They shared their experiences of the course:

Alex Leake said: “I was nervous about the assessment, but I soon relaxed into it. I felt that many years of driving may have led to an element of complacency in my abilities. My assessor challenged me in certain areas and encouraged me to improve my skills. I took on board a few of the points and will definitely check my mirrors more consciously. It was helpful to top up my skills as I’ve been driving for over 40 years.”

Alex drives around 200 miles per week and confirmed driving was very important to him, providing the feeling of security in the knowledge that he could continue to undertake travelling task and commitments.

Barbara Leake, has been driving for 51 years, still drives around 100 miles a week and believes she is a good driver. She drove around 35,000 miles per annum before retiring and wanted to reassure herself that her driving was up to current standards. She commented: “Driving is very important to me as it represents freedom and independence. I drive to visit friends, for shopping and to travel the UK. I enjoy being in control of a vehicle and driving anywhere I want. If I couldn’t drive it would be difficult to visit places without your own transport.”

Charlotte Hetherington who has been driving for 38 years said: “I enjoy the freedom and flexibility driving offers me. I was keen to take part in the review as it offers a chance to get an opinion on my driving skills, tips on where I may need to upskill but overall a professional opinion on whether I am a safe and confident driver.”

The Mature Driver Review is available to all UK residents for £65. Anyone wanting to book a course can do so by contacting IAM RoadSmart directly.

To book a free assessment, drivers, or people calling on their behalf, should call 0300 303 1134 during office hours and quote reference: WCC.

For further information about the scheme (but not booking) email the Road Safety Team at [email protected]

Watch this video about Mature Driver Reviews https://vimeo.com/567108693

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