Course for older drivers in Aberdeen hailed a success

© Chris SumnerPC Lynne McEwan and Sandy Allan, RoSPA’s road safety manager for Scotland
PC Lynne McEwan and Sandy Allan, RoSPA’s road safety manager for Scotland

A ‘life-saving’ course aimed at older drivers has been hailed a success.

A group of a dozen drivers – all aged over 65 – took a trip to Dobbie’s Garden Centre on Lang Stracht, Aberdeen, to pick up some tricks and tips on how to keep safe on the road as they get older.

The one-hour workshop is led by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and is delivered across Scotland, supported by Police Scotland.

Sandy Allan, RoSPA’s road safety manager for Scotland, said: “The thing to remember about over-65s is that we’re not saying they can’t drive.

“In fact, some of the most careful drivers out there are in that age group, which is why they often benefit from the cheapest insurance premiums.”

He added: “But, in many cases, drivers will have got their licence when they were aged 17, or possibly in their early 20s, and then had no formal assessment so their ability slips as years go by.

“The course went really well and it was great to see people benefitting from it.

“It gives people a chance to point out the things they need a hand with so professionals can help them out.”

During the course, drivers were taken out in their own vehicles with a safety expert and given pointers on how to sharpen up their skills at the wheel.

“Some were challenged to sit a hazard perception test on a computer, and another one in a simulation, to test how quickly they can react in a number of situations.

Among those taking part was George Paterson, 83, of Kemnay. He said: “It was really worthwhile and I would definitely encourage older people to give it a go if they can.

“I went out with an instructor and we drove out for a while.

“He asked me to read out a number plate from a car 40 yards away.

“When we got back, he told me that I needed to keep an eye on my speed and indication and that I should use bus lanes when they are not in operation for buses.

“I found it really useful.”

Also taking part was Irene Mitchell, 66, of Westhill. She said: “I found it very beneficial.

“The course is a very good thing and I would say there is a good argument for making it compulsory for people over a certain age to help them with the road skills.”

Mr Allan said: “One of the reasons I wanted to deliver this course is because my own mother-in-law was getting on in years and I could tell her reactions when driving were way off. This course can be a life-saver.

“It can be quite worrying for children of older people who show signs that their ability isn’t what it used to be.”