‘I was terrified’ - Ashwell great-grandmother calls for retests for the elderly after near miss with wrong-way driver on A505 between Baldock and Royston
PUBLISHED: 08:31 20 April 2017
A great-grandmother from Ashwell has spoken out about her fears for elderly drivers on the road after the car she was travelling in had a near miss with a car going the wrong way on the A505 between Baldock and Royston.
Yvonne Young was in the passenger seat of a car being driven towards Baldock by her daughter-in-law when they had to swerve to avoid getting into a smash on April 1.
“I was terrified,” said the 71-year-old.
“There wasn’t too much traffic and my daughter-in-law was overtaking when she saw a car coming towards us – you don’t know if they are going to swerve into you.
“The driver went past us, and you could see she was really old. She didn’t look panicked or anything.
“I said should I call the police, and was trying to find my phone when we drove past an accident. It has obviously just happened, with people sitting on the verge with police on their way. It was really frightening.”
And it’s not the first time Mrs Young has had to face up to realities of the dangers older people face behind the wheel. She had to confront her own brother about his safety on the road, and persuaded him to stop driving seven years ago.
Now 89, brother George Mayoss told the Crow: “It seemed to be that I didn’t seem as sharp in my responses than I used to be, and that the traffic seemed to be going faster and faster. I was not so sure of myself, other people told me to stop, and then I confirmed I would. I had driven for more than 50 years and not had an accident.”
Mrs Young said: “I just think when you get to 70 you should have a retest, and then stop all together at 80 or 85. My brother didn’t want to give up his car but I told him he had to for his own safety. He wasn’t keen but I have possibly saved him from an accident.
“At the moment you have to self-certify to say whether you’re 100 per cent fit to drive, but people can say anything.
“If it was official and taken out of their hands they wouldn’t be put in this position where they would be wondering if they are safe or not.”
The mother of five sons, who also has nine grandchildren and a great-grandson, said that poor transport links between Ashwell and Royston do not help the situation, and may be causing people to hang on to their driving licences when they could be using public transport.
The 90 bus from Ashwell to Royston has been cut, and she has been fighting to get the service fully reinstated.
“I talk to so many people who want better buses, if there were better services on buses and trains, maybe less elderly people will use the roads.
Mrs Young has lived in the village for 35 years, and worked at the primary school as an assistant cook for 20 years before she retired.
She added: “My 18-year-old grandson has just passed his test, and I tell him to be safe on the road. In fact I tell all my children – most have had my message, and I will continue to do so because it is extremely important.”
Police were called shortly before 7pm by a number of people on April 1 to reports of a vehicle being driven the wrong was along the A505.
A black Mini collided with the central reservation having taken action to avoid the car.
The road was closed for a short period of time and the Mini was recovered at around 8.20pm.
Anyone with information should call 101.