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Senior drivers + road safety Time for the hard truth!

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We’re often quick to judge other motorists, aren’t we?

We can get frustrated when a motorist doesn’t pull off quickly enough, when we can’t squeeze through that amber light because of a slower car, or when a driver flicks on hazards and stops seemingly in the middle of the carriageway. Grrrr!

The truth is, when the car happens to be driven by a senior driver, we often point to their age. But the trusty Car team at Budget Direct Insurance urges you to read on …..research on the safety of senior drivers shows how unfair our judgements on age and road safety can be.

The hard truth about senior drivers

According to a study by researchers at a UK university, senior drivers do not present a safety hazard. They analysed whether elderly drivers cause more crashes or not and found the following: 

Motorists over 70 are NO more likely to cause a crash than other road users. In fact, they are about four times less likely to be involved in an accident than males aged 17 to 21.

This finding will please drivers over the age of 70 – a group that is often given a bad rap for their driving skills. 

Why age matters for safer roads 

Senior drivers are also less likely to text or check their phone while driving, drink and drive or take risks like nipping through lights.

They are more experienced drivers and are likely to own the car they are driving, rather than borrowing mum or dad’s, giving them more of a vested interest in keeping it scratch free!

Rather than diminishing driving skills, the biggest obstacle that senior drivers may face is due to fading faculties, like sight, hearing and judging speed and distance.

These faculties are known to decline as we get older, although senior drivers often compensate for this by avoiding driving at night, during busy periods or by driving at a safer pace.

Although research suggests there is no reason senior drivers should be considered less safe than other drivers, there are some situations where elderly drivers score less well…

“In key locations such as high-speed junctions, high-speed roundabouts and slip roads onto motorways and dual carriageways - locations where drivers are required to look around quickly and make quick decisions - some drivers over the age of 70 struggle.” Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research, UK Institute of Advanced Motorists.

In Singapore...

Senior drivers must go for a medical examination at 65, then every three years after. There’s advice on medical checks from the Singapore Police Force here.

In addition, Singapore police recently launched a Road Master Test Kit so that senior citizens can test their eyesight, hearing and reaction time in a bid to enhance their safety while using the roads as a pedestrian.

Senior drivers have been given an added bonus in the last few years in Singapore; taxi drivers can now work up to the age of 75 and, more recently, the age limit for driving instructors has increased from 70 to 75, provided they pass the advanced medical exam.

Budget Direct Insurance rewards experienced drivers

Budget Direct Insurance recognises that experienced drivers mean safer drivers. A preferential policy rate is offered by Budget Direct Insurance if you have more than five years of driving experience, a no claims discount of 50% and you are over 40 years old.

With many countries in the world facing an aging population the number of senior drivers on our roads is set to increase. Finally, whether you are a senior driver or not, remember it’s vital to have good Car insurance.

For more motoring news and advice, look out for regular posts in this series.

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