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Older drivers help plea after pensioner's lucky escape from car submerged in Lymington harbour

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OLDER drivers are being urged to take advantage of a police help scheme after a 70-year-old plunged his car into the water at Lymington harbour.

The Southampton pensioner had gone for a drive around the New Forest in February and accidentally reversed down a boat launch, submerging his car.

He was pulled from the water by nearby residents and taken to hospital for a check-up.

The pensioner accidentally reversed down a boat ramp at Lymington harbour
The pensioner accidentally reversed down a boat ramp at Lymington harbour

After being diagnosed with vascular dementia, which can lead to episodes of confusion for sufferers, the man surrendered his driving licence.

Now Hampshire Constabulary is urging older drivers to contact a forum which works to keep the mature motorist safe.

Sergeant Nick Tucker said: “We all grow older, and our eyesight and some of our abilities diminish over the course of time. We do not always know, notice or realise that this is happening to us over the years.

"If you have an older relative or friend who drives, speak to them about their driving and how they feel about it.

"Remind and encourage them to have their eyesight routinely checked and if they have any concerns about their health, have them speak to their GP about driving."

He added: “With the support of this driver and his family we wanted to highlight this incident to show the real life implications of growing older and driving.

"He surrendered his driving licence with dignity. It is lucky that he did not lose his life that evening."

Sergeant Dave Hazlett, said the key message was about not becoming complacent: "We know that many older drivers have a wealth of experience however as we get older our sight, hearing, reaction times and judgement of speed and distance may not be as sharp as it once was. We often pick up bad habits which become the norm without being aware of it.

“The Older Drivers Forum can help by giving advice on voluntary driving appraisals to suit your needs or build confidence.

“Our advice is: don’t wait until you have a near miss, or worse, an accident to convince you to review your driving ability or to stop driving. Instead take preventative measures by planning ahead and seeking advice and support early."

If you’re an older driver, or concerned for a friend or relative who is still driving, visit www.olderdriversforum.com

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