Thursday, 16 August 2007

Driving for the Elderly!

I like driving. I know lots of folk don't, but I like to do as well as I can when I am behind the wheel and as I sometimes need drive 600-odd miles (there and back) to visit family and friends, I need to keep my wits about me

Recently I went for a drive check with . As I am coming up to 70 I thought it was about time I checked that I was still safe to be on the road. I am the first to pass comment if I feel that an 'elderly person' is not doing so well and 'needs to get their eyes checked!'. Thankfully my observer said that my driving was ok and that my driving manners were very good. We went out for about 40 minutes - driving on motorway, dual carriageway, town roads and country roads, encountering heavy traffic, tankers, lorries, caravans, a pod of motor cyclists overtaking everything in sight, vehicles parked on the pavement, narrow roads with obscured road signs, etc, etc, all the things that we meet at some time or another while out driving.

I have to admit that I did take my advance driving test in 1992 and even managed to be an observer myself for a while helping others take their advanced driving and passing the test too, so all that has obviously helped me. When you think that there are still some people driving on our roads who have never taken a test at any time, it is worrying that they may not always know what some of the signs mean as presumably they don't read the Highway Code. Mind you I often wonder if anyone reads the Highway Code after they have passed their test. Don't get me wrong most folk are perfectly ok with their driving, its just those driving out of junctions, turning right on to a main road, with their right hand on the steering wheel and their left hand holding a mobile to their ear that frighten me - which hand are they changing gear with .......! Oh, of course, they just bend their head to clutch the mobile between their left chin and shoulder and THEN change gear with their left hand ..... silly me!!

Recently I heard on Radio 4 an article about a 93 year old woman who had decided that she was now too old to drive! This was in America I believe. She therefore joined an agency that would send someone to drive her wherever and whenever she needed to make a journey that she would previously have driven to herself. Obviously this service costs money and the users pay a fee whenever they use it. These fees can be off-set by giving their vehicle to the service, the value of which is then set against their use and they only start to pay when their 'vehicle-worth' has been used up. This seemed to me to be an excellent service. If I was very much younger I would look into setting up something similar over here. I'm sorry I can't give more info on this, and although I have hunted on the net before writing this I cannot find the details. Please let me know if anyone out there can. Thanks.

Safe driving.

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