Steering us towards some ‘Age Old Question’ answers

Todmorden U3A chairman Jean Pearson with Ian Andrew of the Institute of Advanced Motorists
Todmorden U3A chairman Jean Pearson with Ian Andrew of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

The Age Old Question, that was the title of the talk given at the November general meeting of Todmorden U3A.

Since the speaker was from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, members weren’t expecting a profound, philosophical lecture. They may, however, have gone into the meeting fearing they may have to hand in their driving licence, writes Alan McDonald.

What they got was an informative and interesting talk with nuggets pertinent to drivers of all ages. And reassurance that they could probably hang on to their license. Members also got a couple of films thrown in for good measure. Ian Andrew is senior motorcycle observer for the Rochdale branch of the IAM and was accompainied by chairman, Eileen Taylor and secretary John Bradshaw.

It came as no surprise to his audience when they heard that older drivers are safer drivers – they are more cautious. They less likely to exceed the speed limit, brake suddenly or their driving be impaired by alcohol.

“Failed to look properly” is the most common factor leading to accidents among all age groups but is particularly high among drivers over 70. Other factors that appear in the statistics of older drivers involved in accidents include: failure to judge the other car’s path or speed; poor turning or manoeuvring; loss of control; illness or disability; nervousness, uncertainty or panic.

Other good news for older drivers is that research has revealed that reaction times do not differ much between age groups, although they are slower among older drivers, compensated for by the fact that they are slower drivers. An area that needs attention comes with the care that drivers take when turning onto a road into traffic. It is highest among the youngest group of drivers, who look three times as often as older drivers – surprised, reader? This declines with age and is worst among older drivers, as with other points mentioned this can be remedied.

What drivers can expect from IAM training and health issues affecting older drivers were also covered. The first film shown was made in the 1930s and entitled Your Driving Test. Ian told his audience it was funny and it was. Being a period piece, trilbys and raincoats were to the fore and the driving practices owed more to slapstick than “this is how you should do it”!