A Driving Instructor's Blog

I had to check that it wasn’t April 1st again when I saw this in the Telegraph.

The RAC has said in a report that:

…more than half of people aged over 70 in Britain currently holds a driving licence and the number of elderly drivers will increase over the coming decade.

…The Foundation says larger lettering should be used on safety-critical signs including directions, and those telling motorists to stop and give way, so that elderly motorists can read them more easily.

OK. So what we’re saying is that the solution to older drivers and their failing faculties is… encourage them to drive by making signs and road markings bigger? How very eco-friendly. How safe for everyone else.

Hollywood

Hollywood

It’s funny, but on a Pass Plus lesson last week I started thinking how large the signs and lettering are on motorway signs.

But it appears that a 1 metre high letter ‘A’ isn’t big enough for someone who has failing eyesight, if the RAC is to be believed.

So how big should the letters be? Two metres? Twenty? Perhaps the answer the RAC is looking for lies across the pond? Can you imagine huge letters mounted in fields and on hillsides?

Somehow, “Accrington” and “Milton Keynes” don’t have the same ring as “Hollywood”. But the report goes on to say:

Fatal accidents involving older drivers generally occur in daylight, at junctions and at low speeds. Interacting with other traffic at junctions is the main risk for older drivers, particularly when turning right across traffic.

I’m sorry, but this is laughable – or would be if it wasn’t so sad. The automatic conclusion to be drawn is not larger road signs.

If they want to increase the lettering size for everyone, that’s a different matter. But just increasing it for people who can’t see… I’m sorry, but someone somewhere isn’t thinking straight.

How people drive is what counts (whether through age or something else). An older person unable to negotiate junctions at low speed is as bad – if not worse – than a chav doing it at high speed. Especially if it kills someone.

EDIT 15/04/2010:  As if to prove what the real problem is, I was driving along the A453 today – near to the Crusader island – where it’s a 40mph limit with busy, but free-flowing, traffic. A silver VW Polo (reg. no. FL09 BXK) pulled out from the petrol station to turn right, right in front of me and into a gap that was the safe limit for me. He forced me to brake sharply – a lot of other people wouldn’t have reacted in time. Half a mile later he stopped – again, in the free-flowing traffic – to flash someone to turn into the Trent University campus. And yes, it was an old driver.

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