5 things younger drivers can learn from older generations

Whether or not you believe that things were better in ‘the good old days’, it’s widely accepted that older generations had more of a hands-on approach to managing their vehicles. What would happen if we were to create a hypothetical time-travelling car quiz, and put an average modern day 25-year-old up against an average 25-year-old from 1973?  The chances for the modern day driver winning are slim.

Life expectancy is constantly rising in the UK and that means that there are far more older drivers on the road than ever before. Over the past twenty years there has been a 72 per cent increase in the number of 70+ license holders. In 20 years, one in ten people will be over 80 and the number of people over the age of 100 will increase by 475 per cent! That’ll be a lot of telegrams…

The perception of older drivers is often a negative one, with claims that they’re no longer safe to be on the road. However, statistics disprove that, with recent figures stating that older drivers are involved in fewer accidents than drivers under 60. And, whilst over 70s make up nine per cent of drivers they only make up six per cent of driver casualties. Under 30s, on the other hand, make up 20 per cent of drivers but 35 per cent of casualties.

Rae Ellis is Business Development Administrator and PA to the Managing Director at Motor Marque, an independent garage and Trust My Garage member that’s been operating in Leeds for 16 years. She explains how and why younger people have a different attitude towards their vehicles, and how they can learn from older drivers.

Rae Ellis

1.  Basic car knowledge

There’s no denying that cars today are considerably more complicated than they used to be, so people are less able to do things themselves. Young people also have less inclination to learn about their cars; this might be because they don’t have the time or that they simply don’t feel they need to because professionals exist who can do this for them. When a younger person gets home from college or work, they’ve got a whole wealth of distractions at their disposal, from video games to social media. These distractions simply didn’t exist in the past, meaning people could devote more time to productive tasks, including learning about their vehicle.

Breakdowns happen all year round and many of these are unavoidable – but some could have been avoided if a motorist simply read their vehicle handbook. How many of us have actually read through ours properly?

There is no excuse. These days, there’s more information available to motorists about car maintenance. On YouTube you can find videos of mechanics or technicians showing you how to do quite complex jobs – you can even find Trust My Garage’s self help vehicle maintenance videos! That doesn’t mean you should do every bit of maintenance yourself though, because a lot of tasks will require the skills and knowledge of a garage technician.

Some garages, like us, offer training courses. Our own are usually targeted at women and we help them learn about basic car knowledge; how to check oil, tyres, topping up screen wash etc. We do this with the view to being able to make people feel more confident in checking those things. It’s all part of the service we offer.


2. Checking certain parts of the car and regular car servicing

My gran’s friend gives her a lift to church every week and he checks the oil and screen wash levels as well as the tyre tread and pressure. In the long run, you save money by constantly checking these things. If you make sure your tyre pressures are always right then you’re not replacing a tyre because it’s worn out on the edges due to under-inflation. It might mean a small time investment every fortnight or so, but in the long run there is a cost saving attached to that, just like getting your car serviced regularly. If you get your car serviced regularly it might cost in the short term but in the long term it will cost you significantly less because you’ll be preventing damage and incurring expensive repair costs.

My gran’s friend will have his MOT and service every year and they’re probably the only times he actually has to go into the garage. Whilst the need for regular servicing can’t be stressed enough, there are a number of things motorists can do themselves to keep their car running smoothly.

It’s probably an attitude thing because I think that older generations perhaps have been less used to having those facilities available and for someone else to do it. In today’s world if there’s anything you want or need you can easily find someone who can do it. Perhaps before there weren’t as many of those services available, or maybe they weren’t as affordable to everybody as they are now.

3.  Driving styles

Cars are now faster and smoother, meaning you can think you’re doing 30mph but you look down and you’re actually going a lot faster. Cars are more of a status symbol these days; whereas for the older generations simply having a car would have been a huge status symbol itself. Now, it’s not about whether you have a car, it’s all to do with what car it is, how new it is and often most importantly, how fast it goes. This doesn’t apply for everyone, but for many young people it does. It’s something that’s definitely been fuelled by the media; you just have to look at some of the films and programmes that seem to advocate driving at ridiculous speeds.

Motor Marque logo

4.  Tolerance of other drivers

There are a lot more cars on the road these days, so statistically incidents of road rage and accidents will have increased naturally. However, there’s far more technology in cars these days and that means there are more distractions. You’ve got in-built Sat Nav, MP3, DAB radio and you can even watch movies or television (though you should never do this while actually driving – leave it to the passengers!) However, even passenger TV viewing can have a detrimental effect on people’s driving, as distractions can easily lead to mistakes, accidents and vehicle damage.

If you’re retired you don’t have to be somewhere in such a rush, you’ve got a bit more time to plan things and perhaps you’re a bit more sedimentary in your life anyway. If you’re young and you think you’re invincible then you may be more inclined to drive too fast and be less tolerant of other drivers.

5.  Preparation

People have less inclination to be well prepared these days. Most modern cars don’t come with a spare tyre anymore, and whilst many of them come with a tyre canister, there’ll be a lot of people who probably don’t know that they’ve got it, let alone how to use it. People might not even be aware that they don’t have a spare tyre until they get a puncture.

It’s important to prepare your car in case of an emergency, and that means having blankets, water, boots, Hi-Vis vest and warning triangle. In a lot of countries it’s compulsory to have these things; we’re quite rare in this country that it’s not. Trust My Garage recently explained what you should have in your vehicle in the event of a breakdown and there are some really great ideas in that blog post.

To find your local independent garage visit the Trust My Garage website and insert your postcode into our garage finder. 

About trustmygarage

TRUST MY GARAGE (TMG) is a scheme developed for independent garages by the Independent Garage Association (IGA) to recognise the high standards of independent garages throughout the UK.

Posted on January 3, 2014, in Guest Posts, Older drivers, People, Trust My Garage, Young Drivers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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