Refreshers courses for drivers in Carmarthenshire
No-one will accept they are a bad driver, but a gentle reminder of the basic skills can do your confidence a world of good.
And this is never truer than for older drivers. So much has changed since their learned to drive from road layouts to the density of traffic.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Road Safety Unit, supported by the Community Safety Partnership, has taken a proactive approach towards improving the road safety of the older driver population and has been working with the 50+ Forum to pilot ‘refresher’ driver awareness sessions.
More than 50 drivers across the county have taken part in courses in the last few months.
In the UK there is an increasing population of drivers over the age of 60 years.
Within Wales there are a total of 544,602 driving licence holders aged 60 or over, with 58,579 of these being over the age of 80.
County road safety manager Keith Griffiths said: “With these numbers set to increase we have introduced these sessions and they’re proving popular.
“The sessions aim to reduce the age-related road risk of older drivers and ensure they are supported to remain safer for longer.”
The course is not a test of driving skills but is more about updating knowledge of the Highway Code and fuel efficient driving; identifying bad driving habits that have developed over the years, and exploring each individual’s issues associated with the ageing process and working together to overcome these.
The informal, relaxed, day-long session begins with a pre-drive presentation and group discussion and then, after lunch, attendees go out on the road with fully qualified, experienced driving instructors to put the theory into practice.
There have been have been two courses in Llanelli and Carmarthen and feedback has been positive.
Llanelli’s Caroline Streek, Chair of the 50+ Forum, who attended the course said it was an enjoyable experience both in theory and in practice.
“The rules have changed a bit in the 50 years since I took my driving test, mostly for the better,” she said. “I urge any driver who is eligible for this course to sign up for it as soon as they can.”
Eluned Deadman also felt she had benefitted from attending. She added: “I did complete a feedback form but when I got home I realised how helpful I had found the course. The morning session was full of useful tips when driving and the afternoon session was also good with both constructive criticism and positive comments.
“I now feel much more confident in my ability as a road user and car driver and would recommend the course to everyone.”
Executive Board Member for transport, Cllr Colin Evans, said: “In our working lives we realise the value of ongoing training to help us adapt to changing circumstances and avoid getting rusty, so surely we should take the same approach to our driving.”
The road safety unit intends to run more driver refresher courses next year March is already fully booked but if you are interested in attending another session in April contact them on 01267 228285 or 228288.