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‘Self-reflection’ is key for older drivers: GEM

Wednesday 20th November 2013

‘Senior drivers’ who plan ahead and reflect on their own driving performance are likely to stay safer for longer, says GEM Motoring Assist.

This latest advice has been issued as part of ‘Still Safe to Drive’, GEM’s video-based web resource to help drivers stay as safe as possible for as long as possible.

Learning to reflect on your own driving practice is a really useful piece of road safety advice, according to David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive. He said: “Where you are not so good or confident, can you seek to reduce the occasions or locations causing your driving difficulty?

“If your eyesight’s not good at night, then don’t drive at night. If low sun and glare cause you a problem, then you will know when and where you are likely to encounter them, and can try to plan your journeys accordingly so that the problem is reduced.

“If you’re worried that your driving has become more erratic or less safe, then don’t ignore the warning signs. Confront the problem and you may find there’s a simple solution. For example, how easy is it to keep your foot still on the accelerator? For some senior drivers, aches and pains – or even muscular jerking – means this can be difficult.

“Whereas younger drivers can make relatively quick adjustments from close vision to far vision, older drivers usually take a lot longer, so you might be trying to manage by not glancing down at the speedometer.

Another issue to consider is how sensitive older drivers are to feedback from the car. David Williams added: “Modern cars give much less feedback, fewer rattles, growls, engine noises and vibrations.

“So drivers have to be more sensitive to what feedback there is, and for older drivers it can be much harder to notice. Without these cues, your ability to stay at a constant speed is much reduced.”

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