Staying alert: Early signs of unsafe driving
by Helen Jackson |
posted 16 January 2018
GEM Motoring Assist is a road safety and breakdown recovery organisation. The company is encouraging those with senior relatives to stay alert for early signs of unsafe driving. This request is after the tragic case of Gertrude Lister who mistakenly pressed down on the accelerator instead of the brake.
95-year-old Mrs Lister was sentenced last week to 16 months in prison which was suspended for two years. The judge also banned her from driving for the rest of her life. The confusion over the pedals caused Mrs Lister to crash into a cemetery hedge causing the death of a cemetery worker last February.
Road Safety Officer for GEM, Neil Worth, said:
"We want as many people as possible to enjoy the freedom of the open road for as long as possible, but only why they are safe. Warning signs relating to failing health or reduced ability can develop slowly and gradually in older drivers. This often means they won't be aware of their changing actions or the growing risks they may pose - to themselves and to others - on journeys."
GEM suggest that the following signs can be early signs of unsafe driving:
- ‘Close calls’ – or ‘oops factor’ moments where a crash almost happens
- Dents and scrapes on the car as a result of hitting fences, posts or kerbs
- Traffic penalty tickets for things such as speeding or red traffic light violations
- Difficulty seeing traffic lights and road signs
- Erratic decision-making
- Getting flustered or angry over minor matters
- Missing familiar exits or turnings
- Drifting in and out of lanes on motorways and dual carriageways
These are all common signs that could indicate risks posed by a senior driver. Singularly they may seem minor but combined they present a significantly increased risk.
There are more than 100,000 drivers aged over 90 in the UK, and more than 500 centenarians still hold licences. But at the moment the only requirement in law for any driver aged over 70 is to declare every three years that they are fit to drive.
“It’s vital that family members and friends are willing to keep an eye on their senior relatives – and take appropriate action if anything causes them concern,” advises Worth.