When they asked me to write a blog for the IAM RoadSmart website, I had no difficulty thinking of things to write about. I have been told I can talk for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland put together! But I’m here today to talk about my work as a Mature Driver Ambassador for your good selves.
You might wonder why am I doing this?
1. Well, older people are starting to get a bad press of late for their driving ability. I am sure you have seen stories of older drivers who have caused some tragic accidents.
2. Those that are over 60 are some of the safest on the roads. Yes some human faculties do deteriorate over time, but they are more than compensated by the greater judgement and perception older people have compared to their younger counterparts.
I believe that time and attention should be focused on the biggest at-risk group of drivers, which are 20-something males. Each year, this age group is the most likely to be involved in a serious or fatal crash and most likely to drink-drive.
In my work with IAM RoadSmart, which is entirely voluntary, I am promoting the Mature Driver Assessment in all of the public appearances and events I go to.
I even mentioned it to Princess Anne on Tuesday when I collected my MBE at Windsor Castle!
I often say to people that everyone can become a better driver. I’m now 83 and have taken the Mature Driver Assessment and the Advanced Test twice - 27 years apart. As someone who has won many international races and rallies, I can be a better driver too.
Every situation on the road every day is different. So you need to be armed with all the skills available to you to be a new and better driver on each occasion. This is what our products at IAM RoadSmart give us.
You can be Lewis Hamilton, Nigel Mansell, me or the average guy or girl on the street – on the roads we are all equal. We have the power and judgment to be a hit or a miss on the road. And speed has little to do with it.
So I hope you will join me on this fun journey to being a better driver. And come and say hello to me if you see me out and about.
For more useful information please read our recent report Keeping Older Drivers Safe and Mobile.
Paddy Hopkirk, Race and rally winner and IAM RoadSmart Mature Driver Ambassador.