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*Big sigh*

 

The Easter holidays are over and some semblance of normality has returned this morning – I didn’t sleep well because I was worried I’d oversleep (even though that’s never ever happened), Dexter wanted to make a YouTube video at 6.45am (seriously) and on top of that, I’d forgotten to buy anything for his packed lunch.  On top of THAT, Dexter had to be at school early this morning as they were going on a school trip to Chessington.  CHESSINGTON!  I only ever went to Arundel … and it rained.

 

So, you can see, just a normal morning really.

 

We left home in plenty of time and not only did we avoid most of the usual back-to-school traffic, but I knew we’d have time to picked up a lunch for Dexter from Tesco and be one of the first (smug) parents to drop their kid off at the playground.

 

Except … as we reached the junction of the road by Dexter’s school the following happened.

 

A silver BMW was in front of us but as it pulled out of the junction, it didn’t see that a car was coming down the road … so it stopped.  In the middle of the road.

 

And then began reversing.

 

Now bearing in mind I’m at the junction, and he’s obviously not seen me, I began bibbing my horn thinking he’d realize the mistake he’d made and stop.  He didn’t hear me and kept reversing.  And I kept bibbing.  And he kept reversing and all this time I can see the car coming towards me and I haven’t got time to reverse myself and then … BANG.

 

He smacks straight into me.

 

Thankfully, he wasn’t going fast as he was reversing but trust me, when you see a car coming straight for you, and you can’t do anything, it’s pretty scary nonetheless.

 

I think he’d have driven off had I not put my hazard lights on, got out my car and politely gesticulated for him to come and have a chat.  Thankfully (for him) he got out and as I suspected, he was in his mid-late 70’s.

 

We looked at the front of my car to assess any damage but instead of checking we were OK, he just made excuses that there was a car parked in the road that had blocked his vision and that really it wasn’t his fault.  I had Dexter there so did my best to keep it together but suggested that perhaps he should have taken note of the fact that I WAS HONKING MY HORN LIKE A MAD WOMAN … and that maybe he should have checked his rearview mirror before reversing.

 

But here’s the thing … what’s the point in remonstrating with a man that old?  I’m generalizing somewhat (and my Dad is in his 70’s so I’m treading carefully), but I think ‘most’ drivers get to a certain age where they really shouldn’t be allowed on the road because they’re a menace to other drivers.  Yes, I’m sure we all know a Doris or Bob that are 80+ and great drivers.  Trust me, they’re in the minority – my own experience of OAP drivers is that their reflexes are slow and they have no comprehension that there are other drivers on the road.

 

This man reversed straight into the front of my car without even checking there was anything behind him … he just shouldn’t be allowed to drive.  Yes, it would hinder his independence but we were lucky this morning.  Next time he does that, that person might not come off as well.

 

There was only a small crack to my number plate and, although shaken up, Dexter and I were OK.  This time.  I took his number plate down as a precaution but let him go on his way with a gentle reminder that he really should pay more attention.  It fell on deaf ears.

 

However, my dilemma is now this.  After thinking about this incident all morning, I’m wondering whether I should report him after all.  Not for any personal gain on my behalf, but because now I’m concerned that he really shouldn’t be driving and if he has another accident, am I to blame because I didn’t say anything.

 

What would you do?

 

 

*UPDATE     So I DID report him to the police – had to go to the police station and spend an hour filling in paperwork.  Slight exaggeration, but I was there for ages.  The officer didn’t hold out much hope that anything would be done (so that was reassuring!) but I reported it anyway – for my own conscience as much as anything.  I received a letter in the post a week later to say, as suspected, that no further action would be taken against this driver.  So Kent drivers beware … look out for a silver BMW with a personalised number plate and a old boy driving it .. and especially look out if he puts his car in reverse!

 

 

 

 

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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

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28 Comments

  1. Substitute without looking he reversed into the ‘front of my car’ for ‘three children crossing the road behind his car’. At best he was driving without due care and attention, at worst he is dangerous and shouldn’t be on the road.

    I would respectfully suggest that you report it to your insurance company in case he decides to report it to his and claims you went into the back of him.

    D

    1. You’re so right David – I think I was just so relieved at the time that we were OK and I wanted to get somewhere safe that I didn’t take his details, other than his number plate. I’ve been mulling it over all morning, stewing on what to do. Thanks for the advice.

  2. I don’t know the legalities, but aren’t you supposed to report an accident to the police? ring 101 and find out. I am sure they will tell you.
    I am glad that you and Dex are OK, I suspect that this rather than Chessington will be the highlight of his day once he has had time to reflect. Plus, don’t forget, it will be a bigger prang every time he retells the story lol.
    As to your actual question, I personally feel that people should be reassessed every 5 years from passing their test until the age of 65, then every year until 75, then every 6 months from then on. Unworkable. But that is what I think.

    1. Laughing at the thought of Dexter re-telling the story! You’re right, it’ll get more spectacular each time he tells it! I totally agree re re-testing … would save insurance companies a lot of money I’d imagine. And I reported it to the police … just so they know.

  3. I’d tell. Perhaps the DVLA? Nothing will get done, but it would clear your conscience of ‘allowing’ him to just carry on.

    Glad you are ok x

  4. Regardless of age, I think all drivers should do some sort of refresher course and have their eyes tested every ten years. There are crap drivers in any age bracket, but those at each end of the age spectrum are most likely to cause accidents. http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/policy/statements/older-drivers.aspx

    I did a speed awareness course last year (to avoid points/fine after being caught speeding) and the combined years of driving experience at my table of 11 was over 500 years! One guy had been driving for nearly 60 years – with experience in all sorts of vehicles from cars to tanks, and those things that pull aircraft around at airports – yet he’d never done any sort of road refresher training. In fact, unless it was for work, no one on the room had voluntarily done any.

    I think you should report the accident anyway, just as a precaution.

    1. That’s unbelievable! I’d be happy to re-test every say 5 years – but we don’t like to think we’re getting older do we and I think that’s a big issue amongst older drivers, not wanting to admit they’re not as young as they used to be. Have reported to police and now need to go down to the station to fill in a form!

  5. I think you should report it. I was reversed into by a car and fractured my wrist. The guy wasn’t going very fast but it still hurt my wrist, because he wasn’t looking and drove into me as I crossed.
    I don’t understand how a driver can pass a test at 17, when they are more alert and with it, and still be driving under the same license at 70, unless they are caught drink driving and lose their license. I strongly believe that there should be a review of driving ability every ten years. We still have a system that relies on the driver giving their license back if they have poor eyesight or a medical reason for being unfit to drive, rather than it automatically being revoked. Its sad but its dangerous.

  6. I would 100% report! I myself was in a car accident yesterday, and it’s scary! People who pay no attention to anything around them are da drops and shouldn’t be driving cars, regardless of age!
    I’m so glad you’re both ok x

  7. Oh this is very sad. I am so grateful that you are both relatively ok and that it could have been so worse. I really feel for the family of the driver who may be in the process of making that horrible decision that maybe the man is no longer safe to drive. There often is no clear cut point – we had an inkling for a while that Dad was ill and tried to reduce his driving but had to make that decision ourselves long before any doctor told us. It might be that he appeared not bothered but is actually not very well. You were very kind to be gentle with him.

    1. I just didn’t see the point in shouting at him to be honest … he obviously didn’t realise quite how serious the situation was and kinda felt a mixture of anger and pity. I’ve reported it because I’m not sure he’d be the kinda man that would make that decision himself.

  8. I have a couple of friends who’s grandparents are in this age bracket and shouldn’t be on the road after a couple of close calls, too many years without an eye test, that sort of thing. Both of these friends, and their parents, have spoken to said grandparents but, as with your experience, the advice not to drive falls on deaf ears. So I advise you to report it to the police- it might be that the people close to this man are as worried about his driving as you are but a more traditional authority figure might get through more easily.

    I once called my local police station to report dangerous driving by a taxi driver- they took the details and later called me back to say that they couldn’t act on my testimony alone but if there were future incidents it would help the police in their approach. Hopefully it’s just a one- off with the gent you came across this morning but if it isn’t, by reporting it you could be doing a lot of people, not least this gent, a favour.

    Hope you’re both feeling ok now.

  9. The fact he ignored your beeping is a bit worrying! If you report him I’m not sure they will do much, a warning perhaps? Everyone has accidents after all. The fact he just made excuses and didn’t apologise is a bit off. Maybe let the police make note of it so that if he does do it again, they will know to take a bit more action. Who knows how many times this has happened before?

    Hope Dexter has a great time at Chessington!

    1. Thanks Emma … it is a bit worrying isn’t it?!! I’m not sure whether to call police, insurance, DVLA … or not bother at all. I’m just glad we’re ok. And thanks re. Dexter – he couldn’t be any more excited! x

  10. Kate, I’d definitely report it to the police. I used to work in the accident unit writing up all the reports and it’s amazing that there isn’t a maximum age limit after which time you must take a re-test. It never fails to amaze me how I can see older people struggle to get out the car, walk with two sticks into the shop and fumble for 15 minutes to get the money out their purse…. After which they get back into a car and drive off….!!! It’s really worrying. I was nearly in a motorway pile up last week when the person in front of me thought leaving the slip road to join the motorway was acceptable at 30mph. When I finally saw them I realised they were at least 80 and could barely see over the wheel. Phew that you only got a cracked number plate but next time somebody else could lose their life.

  11. I do have an interesting story of my own when it comes to older people driving. I would never hear the end of it if I blogged about it myself. My MIL’s sister is the exact same age as the Queen and was driving until 2 weeks ago. We all were at my in laws. She arrived and was asked to move her over a bit as my FIL wanted to put his car in the garage so she reversed right into a heavy stone set pillar. Her Polo got stuck on the rubble a bit so put it in drive and floored the gas pedal and raced into the house. The frame of the garage is dented. The side of the house is pushed in so much that it has to be held up with steel support beams. It still hasn’t been fixed as it is a major job and the insurance companies are dragging it out. All fun!!

    1. OMG that’s terrible!! It’d be funny if it wasn’t so dangerous! Not surprised you can’t blog about it lol … but what was the outcome re. the driver? Has someone suggested that perhaps it’s time she gave her driving licence up??

      1. As her car is a complete write off and the damage to the house is quite a major structural job we all had a quiet word with her and she agreed with us that it is time to give it up.

  12. My Husband’s grandmother recently relinquished her driving licence at the age of 80-something and I am SO relieved. I’ve been in the car with her only once and it was a terrifying white-knuckle ride during which she bumped into not one, but 2 other cars (and drove off with an “oh dear!” and a chuckle) and drove the entire 3 mile journey in 2nd gear. I’m a huge advocate of retesting but I genuinely don’t know if people who are so resolutely crap at driving are even self-aware enough to realise that THEY are the problem.

    1. That is just too scary … my Dad isn’t quite that bad but he’s on his way. When the time comes, and I don’t think it’l be too much longer, I don’t want to be the one to tell him! I’ll make my brother do it 🙂

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