A Driving Instructor's Blog

Father TimeAll other news has stopped these last two days (mid-January 2019, when I first wrote this) because of the motor accident involving Prince Philip near Sandringham. Apparently, he’s already back behind the wheel.

The last line in that article made me smile.

Chris Spinks, who led Norfolk’s roads policing team for five years, said the royal would not be shown any “favouritism” in the investigation.

It’s too late, Chris. He already has been if he’s back driving again already. If it had been any other 97-year old who had hit the wrong pedal because of being dazzled by the sun, they’d probably have had their licence confiscated on the spot. And if they’d have driven into a Royal vehicle, they’d still be in the cells helping with enquiries. And at that age, they’d be unlikely to get their licence back without so much hassle that it would be simpler to just forget it.

Age is both a progressive and a relative thing. We’re all affected by it as our lives progress, but some people more so (and more quickly) than others.

On the one hand, age should not be seen as a barrier against learning to drive. It should not be seen as a direct barrier to carrying on driving well into your old age (however that might be defined). However, there comes a point where you – as an individual – have moved as far along the timeline as you can without becoming a serious risk. As I said above, some people get there quicker – and earlier – than others. Getting the pedals mixed up – along with not being able to see very well – is most definitely the point where Father Time is telling you you should stop.

I would bet money that Prince Philip has never got the pedals mixed up before. But he’s 97 – and he has now.

Fortunately, no one was killed or seriously injured.


It gets better. If a normal motorist was observed not wearing a seatbelt, the police would go nuts over it (they have done, before). It’s a good job the Duke is not getting “favourable” treatment, isn’t it?


And in the latest update, Prince Philip has done the right thing and surrendered his licence. Whatever the reasons – sensible or political – he’s made the right decision.


And in still another development, he’s got off with it. No further action will be taken. Although my view on older drivers declaring themselves fit, and then proving that they’re not by driving into things, is no secret, let’s hope that the same leniency is extended to anyone who does this sort of thing in future – even if they’re not Prince Philip.

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