"For me, a driver’s license means quality of life, says hans munck from herzogenaurach, summing up why most seniors did not want to give up this form of mobility. But what happens when reaction speed and agility decrease, insecurities increase and driving becomes a danger??
Politicians are discussing revoking drivers’ licenses after a certain age or making examinations compulsory. The traffic police prefer to rely on the drivers’ own responsibility and preventive training. Siegfried nurnberger, chairman of the hochstadter verkehrswacht, and his team therefore organize a driving course several times a year that is specially tailored to senior citizens.
In a first theoretical part the new traffic regulations and central sources of danger are discussed. "Accidents often happen because drivers simply don’t keep their safety distance," reports driving instructor heike striegel, reports driving instructor heike striegel and repeats the formulas for calculating braking distances.
She also explains that the signal is only required when leaving a traffic circle, that on a three-lane highway the emergency lane is "one on the left, two on the right" and that you have to give way to other road users when leaving a traffic-calmed zone. They loved to poke questions from the participants and referred to local examples such as the carp traffic circle or the circular intersection at the sud elementary school.
Accompanied by the driving instructors, the participants were then able to drive to such stations and practice traffic situations that cause them difficulties in everyday life. "I realized that I don’t work with the mirrors enough", says birgit von wiarda, who has just come back from the practice run.
Driving instructors point out errors
During the short tours through hochstadt and the surrounding area, the driving instructors also addressed frequently observed errors. "At the intersection from lekkerland in the direction of gremsdorf there is a stop sign with two thick stop lines. One is for the bike lane and the other is for the road", driving instructor andreas merlon reports and emphasizes: "the driver must stop at both lines. But almost nobody does that."
In order to train dexterity and difficult driving maneuvers, the drivers also completed a course with a slalom, a narrowed lane and various parking tasks. Driving instructor jurgen maul observed them very closely, gave concrete tips and praised the progress of his students. "It’s more exciting than I thought it would be", says manfred schmitt, who particularly benefited from the practice of braking. "Only the fourth time it worked flawlessly. But if, for example, a child suddenly runs into the street, I have to be able to react immediately and correctly." Dietrich klockmann from hochstadt adds: "in everyday life, for example, I avoid driving backwards, and it was good that I could now train this specifically."
For despite decades of experience in road traffic, the drivers agreed that there is always something more to learn. "I have had my driver’s license for 60 years, but I notice that it is harder for me to drive", reports hans munck. Training is therefore all the more important to him: "it’s not just about your own safety, but also that of other road users."