Older drivers are being reminded of the importance of good car maintenance, in light of statistics confirming the rising number of elderly motorists on our roads.
whocanfixmycar.com, which helps car owners to find rated mechanics in their local area, is encouraging senior drivers to make sure their cars are fit for purpose, following news from the RAC Foundation that the number of people over 70 who hold valid driving licences passed four million for the first time in the last quarter.
At present, drivers aged 70 and over must renew their licences every three years, but the site is reminding motorists that they must also properly maintain their vehicles by visiting their local mechanic for scheduled checks, an annual MOT, and by considering vehicle adaptations.
Numbers of elderly drivers are set to continue to soar, as the Government predicts that of the UK citizens alive today, around ten million will reach the age of 100. Research from the AA revealed that by 2030, more than 90 per cent of men over 70 will be behind the wheel.
Ian Griffiths, CEO of whocanfixmycar.com, said: “There’s no doubt that driving a car provides older people with freedom, flexibility and confidence, and it is essential to make sure that vehicles continue to reflect the changing requirements of their owners over time. The best way to keep a car in good working order is to make regular visits to a local garage.
“It’s also important to keep in mind that garages can fit specialised features to make cars easier to drive – such as cruise control, which can be set to keep the car at a constant speed and enables a driver to rest their right foot. Additionally, variable cruise control can keep a set distance between a car and the vehicle in front.
“If an older driver has owned the same car for a long time then it is worth asking a mechanic for advice about upgrading to a vehicle with features such as automatic transmission, power steering, automatic gear boxes, hill start assist, automatic headlights and wipers, parking sensors and cameras, larger mirrors and windows to help vision, and larger doors and higher seats to help access.”
To stay safe behind the wheel, older drivers are advised to re-read the Highway Code to keep abreast of the latest developments, book regular eye tests to check that they are able to read a car number plate from 20m away, and declare deteriorations in health to the DVLA.
The Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (Rica) has launched a guide for older motorists, containing information about accessories and adaptations which can make driving easier.
Drivers can also contact their nearest Mobility Centre for advice. The centres assess physical ability, eyesight and reactions, and will tell drivers if they need to make any changes.
Ian added: “As everyone ages differently, there is no safe or unsafe age for a driver to be. Our rated mechanics are on hand to provide older drivers with tailored advice and specialised service so that customers can enjoy driving for as long as possible.”
whocanfixmycar.com is free for motorists to use. Customers can post jobs on the site, receive quotes from rated garages and mechanics nearby, and leave feedback about their experiences. More than 25,000 jobs have been posted by motorists on the site and in excess of 4,000 mechanics have signed up.