The Need for Senior Road Safety

Why is “Senior Road Safety” so important?

Having reached older age one can be forgiven for developing any kind of complacency or matter of fact attitude towards life. However, the reality of life is ‘risk’ significantly increases with age, the recovery from injury or illness a more demanding and time consuming process and morbidly with the possibility of life changing aspects and double the risk of death. Stark facts, not to mention the financial burden both personally and to the emergency and health services, but also the personal incalculable emotional costs.

What are some of the challenges regarding Senior Road Safety?

  • The gradual decline in one’s abilities which may go unnoticed for a long period of time leading to dangerous situations; relatives or friends have a role with this.
  • Our knowledge can become outdated particularly with the pace of modern change.
  • Change can be implemented or occur and we simply receive neither information nor appropriate training.
  • New technologies are a constant challenge.

What are key factors with senior road accidents?

Everybody will be familiar with the high profile media reports of accidents involving older persons from time to time. Sadly these reported accidents are just a snapshot of those happening on a regular basis on Kent’s roads.  Understanding and acknowledging potential problem areas unquestionably leads to casualty reduction as has been demonstrated in Hampshire by THE OLDER DRIVERS FORUM.

  • Emerging at road junctions particularly on higher speed rural roads in daylight.
  • Hazard perception / observation issues and corresponding reactions.
  • Outdated or lack of Highway Code knowledge particularly around more modern highways layouts and traffic volumes.
  • Shortcomings regarding use of automatic transmissions often changing to same in later life without adequate instruction – non-use of handbrake for temporary stops.
  • Difficulties around using and properly understanding car technologies which includes the use of satellite navigation and mis-interpretation.
  • Distraction.
  • Medical and medication factors.
  • Poor self-regulation and acknowledgement of frailty and physical, mental limitation.
  • Inappropriate use of mobility scooters frequently through lack of understanding, training and suitability assessment.
  • Understanding both procedures and precautions to take in any roads emergency which applies equally to drivers, passengers and pedestrians.