Elaine gets the first F1rst of the New Year

Congratulations all round for Elaine Blackmore who has just achieved GAM’s first F1rst of 2020. Elaine’s test report was full of compliments on a really excellent drive, and her examiner was duly impressed with all Elaine’s hard work and dedication. Well done Elaine, from all of us at GAM.

Ian gets the year off to a great start

Congratulations to Ian Cole who had a very successful drive during his advanced test on 9th January. Ian’s examiner said “he clearly is a good, experienced driver, and the links between observation, anticipation and planning were obvious and well demonstrated – a really cracking drive.” Well done Ian from all of us at GAM – a terrific start to what we hope will be another great year of test successes.

‘Class of 2019’ success

Last night GAM hosted a very successful celebration of another great year where over 40 people met to congratulate new GAM members on their IAM test achievements in 2019. GAM membership certificates were awarded to those who passed their test during last year, and they were cheered on by a selection of local IAM examiners, members of the GAM committee, several Observers from the group, and special guest Stuart Haythorn, IAM Area Manager.

GAM had 19 F1rst and 29 test passes in 2019 – another record year celebrated in fine style at the Drummond Arms in Albury. And to cap it all, National Observer John Holcroft was awarded the David McCarthy Award for his outstanding service to the group during the year. Well done everyone!

Early Christmas present for Graeme

Graeme Blackmore achieved a well earned pass on his test last week to end the year on a high. His examiner said that he “demonstrated good observation, anticipation and planning (OAP) on the road, and overall, this was a good drive to a good standard”. Graeme was our 47th pass this year which is one of our best years ever. Congratulations from all of us at GAM – well done Graeme.

Rob impresses the examiner

Rob Haines made a great impression during his advanced test earlier in December and passed with ease. His examiner said “Overall this was a very nice drive to a good standard, and there was some very nice elements to the drive.” Well done Rob, from all of us at GAM. Congratulations on a well deserved pass.

Neill puts in an excellent performance

Many congratulations to Neill Betty who passed his advanced test on Friday. An excellent result with some highly complimentary comments from his examiner who said it was “an excellent drive he should be very proud of – a great drive and an easy pass”. Well worth all the hard work Neill – well done from all of us at GAM.

Sparkling performance from John

John Riley really impressed his examiner on Wednesday with a fantastic drive that earned him a F1rst. John said he was really pleased with his result, and his examiner commented that “the drive throughout was safe and systematic, use of the controls smooth, well timed and unhurried”. Many congratulations to John from all of us at GAM.

Brian gets a Fellowship

Brian Mellor was very pleased yesterday to pass his IAM Fellow test, having been an IAM member for many years and deciding to demonstrate he still had all the necessary skills. Brian’s examiner praised “a really good quality drive” where “links between Observation, Anticipation and Planning were showcased brilliantly”. Hearty congratulations to Brian from all of us at GAM, proving you can still make the grade after all those years of IAM membership. Same again in three year’s time, so keep up those skills!

Congratulations for Nigel

NIgel Staton put in an excellent performance last Wednesday to pass his Advanced Test. His examiner said “it was a great drive he should be proud of”. Well done Nigel for all your hard work and some really good comments on your test. Congratulations from all at GAM.

Concerned about an older relative’s driving? Tips on how to talk to them about it from IAM RoadSmart

Spotting the signs of a loved one’s driving deteriorating as they get older can be difficult. At what point should you tackle the issue and suggest it might be time for them to stop? As part of its older drivers’ campaign, raising awareness of the issues faced by many thousands of mature drivers across the UK, IAM RoadSmart’s head of technical policy and advice, Tim Shallcross, has put together some top tips based on his own experiences.

  • Try to have a conversation about it sooner rather than later; it’s a very good idea to raise the subject while there’s nothing wrong with their driving – “How will you feel if eventually you have to give up driving? How would it affect you?” for example. 
  • Take the opportunity from time to time to be a passenger with them to see how their driving is – and look out for any changes over time.
  • Signs of deteriorating driving include looking but not seeing at junctions, reduced ability to judge speeds, poor reversing – and dents on the car. For more signs to look out for, see IAM RoadSmart’s short video here.
  • Even if you do have concerns, your relative might well be able to carry on driving safely for many years with a little tuition and guidance. Point out that as we age, the risks associated with driving change and that it might be good to get an independent view such as a Mature Driver Review. Stress that it is not about giving up driving, just reducing the risks.
  • Remember how much of a life changer this could be – imagine what it would be like for you if you suddenly had to give up driving. The impact might well be greater for your relative than for you if they can’t walk or cycle easily. Be sympathetic but firm if you are sure their driving is below standard.
  • Don’t have a large family discussion – your relative may well feel everyone is ganging up on them. One to one is best, two at most. 
  • Stick to the facts. Have there been near misses you are aware of? Don’t condemn the driving outright, talk instead about safety for them and others.
  • Identify beforehand the pressures that keep him or her driving – does their partner or spouse drive? How far away are essential amenities? What alternatives are there?
  • If necessary, introduce the idea of internet shopping and other online services that are available.
  • Know when to stop and try another day. It’s pointless getting into an argument where tempers get frayed. Leave your relative to think about it for a while and often they will realise that what you’re suggesting makes sense.

There are a number of resources available to help older drivers stay safe on the road for longer, and also on how to make the decision to stop driving when the time is right. Apart from IAM RoadSmart’s advice here, Age UK and the Older Drivers’ Forum also offer guidance.