The Older Drivers Forum makes its debut in Thames Valley this week when it hosts two awareness events in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
Last year, the forum engaged with over 1,300 older drivers in neighbouring Hampshire at similar events to give those help and support to carry on driving safely for longer.
There are currently just over 5.1 million people in the UK aged 70 and over driving on our roads and the expectation is that this will double if not treble in the next 20 years as we all live longer. The oldest person who holds a driving licence is a male aged 107 years.
Sergeant Rob Heard, Chairman of the Older Driver Forum, said: “The key message is about not becoming complacent about our driving. We know that many older drivers have a wealth of experience, confidence and tolerance. However as we get older our sight, hearing, reaction times and judgement of speed and distance may not be as sharp as it once was. We often pick up bad habits which become the norm without being aware of it.
“The Older Drivers Forum can help by giving advice on voluntary driving appraisals to suit your needs or build confidence.
“Our advice is don’t wait until you have a near miss or worst an accident to convince you to review you driving ability or to stop driving. Instead take preventative measures by planning ahead and seeking advice and support early.
“Attending one of these events is the ideal opportunity to come and discuss your driving needs and concerns with a variety of organisations who are dedicated to reducing casualties and providing the guidance and support older drivers may need.”
The number of older drivers on the roads has been increasingly steadily and this is expected to continue. By 2030 more than 90% of men, over 70 will be behind the wheel.
Sgt Heard, added: “It’s an important to realise that ageing affects us all different and doesn’t necessarily mean a total loss of driving ability. There are many things an older person can do to improve and continue to drive safely, from modifying the vehicle, adapting the way they drive, and understanding and rectifying any physical issues that may interfere with driving.
“This forum has been brought together by the specific issues faced by older motorists and to give them all the help and support to carry on driving safely for longer and provide advice about managing without a car if their skills suddenly deteriorate to the point that driving becomes too difficult or unsafe.”
If you’re an older driver or concerned for a friend or relative who is still driving then the Older Driver Forum may be able to help.
At the Bicester event, Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service is providing advice on tyre safety. Drivers will be able to get a free tyre check, courtesy of Micheldever/Pro Tyre. October is National Tyre Safety Month.
Andy Ford, from Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service, said, “Older drivers are more likely to have tyres that are very old and perished. Most drivers, young and old, don’t realise that perished tyres aren’t routinely inspected in a MOT. We encourage all vehicle owners to check their tyres regularly. Safety is paramount.”
Please visit their website www.olderdriversforum.com for more information and details about the upcoming awareness week.
Tuesday, October 2 - Blue Diamond Garden Centre, Bicester
Thursday, October 4 - Wyevale Garden Centre, Wendover
The event is free to attend and open between 9.30am to 3pm, no appointment is required and people can pop in anytime during these hours. The events are aimed at anyone with an interest, from older drivers themselves, to friends and relatives.
Advice will be available on:
Information can be reported online or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.