TWO police, council officers and a car dealership principal attended a special driving course last week for older drivers.
The free seminar in Mirboo North discussed road safety, examined some of the challenges for older drivers, and new technology and techniques to keep older drivers safe.
South Gippsland Shire Council’s Road Safety/L2P Learner Driver Program Project Officer John Ernst said the program was started due to some worrying statistics.
“The trend in road safety statistics clearly show that while older drivers are safer – they have many years of experience and can be more cautious drivers, they are still over represented in casualties,” he said.
“Our population is ageing, and as rural people, they rely heavily on car transport – it’s important that our older drivers stay safe on our roads.”
Mr Ernst said cars remain an essential part of older people’s lives – it is key to ageing in their homes.
“In a rural area like South Gippsland, where there is a growing ageing population, we want to keep people driving as long as it is safe to do so,” he said.
“That can mean some very simple steps and strategies to help older drivers on the road.
“So at the seminar we discussed strategies for avoiding driving at busy times of the day, or choosing a different route to take.
“We discussed ergonomics, and Darryl McGannon, principal at Edney’s Leongatha talked about safety features in new cars and how they can be used.
“We worked through some neck exercises to keep necks flexible for head checks.
“We showed the data and shared how to estimate speeds of approaching vehicles, which was identified as a concern by some of the older drivers.
“Police also talked about the legal aspects of driving, and when it is no longer safe to keep driving.
“We also handed out pamphlets about mixing medications, along with numbers for people to talk to about medical issues and how it may impact on driving.”
There was a lot to discuss! And it will continue at Venus Bay at the Community Centre from at a session in May or June.
To register for the ‘Safety from the Word Go’ session, phone John Ernst or Dana Hughes on 5662 9200 or email volunteer@southgippsland.vic.gov.au.
The seminar is sponsored by the council and Victoria Police.