Older motorists to brush up skillsOlder motorists in favour of courses.

13 November 2005

Older drivers are in favour of refresher courses to help them deal with the hazards of busy modern roads, a new survey reveals today.

The study by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) found that more than 70 per cent of drivers aged over 50 would be happy to take a course to brush up on driving on busy motorways.

The survey of 1000 UK drivers aged over 50 also found that more than six out of 10 mature motorists would value tips on driving on unlit roads at night, and on negotiating junctions.

Research has shown that older drivers' road accidents are generally due to an inability to handle large amounts of traffic information at the same time as keeping control of a complex machine. Accidents typically occur at junctions when turning right or through failing to give way.

Driving more slowly

A third of those questioned in the IAM poll felt their driving had changed a fair amount or a lot as they had aged, and added that leaving more space between vehicles, driving more slowly, and taking more care at junctions were the most common changes.

Many older drivers felt safer about their own driving than they used to, but felt less safe about other drivers. The government estimates that the number of drivers aged over 70 is expected to more than double to four and a half million over the next decade.

IAM Chief Executive Christopher Bullock said: 'The baby boomers of the mid-20th century are about to become the golden gear-changers of the early 21st century. Many older people know that their reactions have slowed and they adjust their driving to cater for this.

'But they will want to retain their licence to drive, because they value the independence afforded by the car. Voluntary refresher sessions could help more mature motorists stay on the road.'