Senior Road Safety – Some Thoughts

“I didn’t think it would happen to me/us.”

Ask any member of the emergency services or clinicians the words they hear echoed most frequently at the time of an incident; road traffic accident, slips trips and falls, fire etc.

“I’ve lived 60 years without an accident, so it’s not going to happen now.”

Often said – the words of complacency which sadly in senior life can prove to be fallacy.

As we enter senior life in our sixties we start the natural ‘ageing’ process and general slowing down which affects everybody to a lesser or greater degree. Generally this becomes more profound the older we get, so too is the likelihood of developing medical conditions and illness requiring medication. Change maybe slow and initially go unnoticed which is a danger in itself. Roads become ever busier requiring greater skill and attention.

Our most important considerations will be maintaining our independence and mobility. By understanding and accepting the changes to our bodies we have the opportunities to make informed choices. This  will help us cope re our body slow down against more complex roads situations which unquestionably will help us to maintain both our independence and mobility.

THE OLDER DRIVERS FORUM founded in 2013 by a Hampshire road traffic sergeant focuses on initiatives aimed to keep older drivers safer on the roads. The results are impressive for an area which has the highest percentage of ‘seniors’ in the UK outside of London. Whereas over recent years the national average for seniors killed or seriously injured on our roads has increased by around 20%, in Hampshire it has fallen  by around 20% as well as a significant reduction in ‘at fault’ statistics for older drivers.

At KENT FOCUS GROUP by working in association with THE OLDER DRIVERS FORUM we intend, given time, to mirror their work and similarly bring about reductions in road accidents, injuries and death among Kent’s seniors. This includes drivers, passengers, pedestrians and mobility scooter users.

The web site is the first stage initially giving the opportunity for readers to easily access useful information to enable rational and informed choices. In most walks of professional life and voluntary interests there is a need to update and validate skills and qualifications on a periodic basis but this is not so with road safety and driving.  Over the years changes can be huge leaving us ill prepared particularly as our unavoidable age changes kick in. By gaining some insight, perhaps by some arm chair reading, attending a talk or taking a voluntary driving refresher, one can address potential issues around personal road safety. Most importantly long term, we can stay safe and prolong that all important independence and mobility.

The following pages highlight some of the issues for senior road users, and importantly provide web details of organisations where more specific information is available. We also include some useful general fact sheets.