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Welsh town has the highest percentage of older drivers

Older drivers in Llandrindod Wells

The area in and around the small Welsh town of Llandrindod Wells has the highest percentage of drivers aged 70 and over. That’s according to a study conducted by Hippo Leasing.

Of the 41,398 drivers in the LD postcode, 7,684 are aged 70+, meaning 18.56 percent of the population are classed as older drivers.

Hippo Leasing also discovered that, of the 5.4 million people over the age of 70 with a valid driving licence, 1.45 million are 80+, 113,492 are 90+, and 319 have reached the grand old age of 100.

Most centenarian drivers can be found in Brighton, Llandudno and Kingston-upon-Thames.

In May, we reported on the news that 49 percent of Brits want older drivers banned from the road, with 69 percent of the respondents to the survey believing older drivers should be forced to retake their driving test from the age of 60.

No Duke of Edinburgh vehicles

The subject of older drivers hit the headlines in January, when the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a crash while driving near the Queen’s Sandringham estate.

Once a driver reaches the age of 70, their driving licence expires and must be renewed, with the DVLA sending a D46P application form 90 days before the 70th birthday.

The licence must then be renewed every three years at no cost to the driver. The motorist must notify the DVLA if they have any medical conditions that could affect their driving or the ability to read a number plate from 20 metres.

‘It doesn’t matter if they’re 20 or 120’

older drivers

Tom Preston, managing director, Hippo Leasing, said: “As the UK’s population ages, it’s inevitable that we’ll see more older motorists. While many people think this will impact road safety, it’s important to remember that age is just a number when it comes to a person’s ability to drive.

“So long as motorists are medically fit to drive and their vehicle is road-legal, it doesn’t matter if they’re 20 or 120.”

Highest percentage of drivers aged 70+

No.Postcode areaDrivers aged 70+Total drivers
1.LD Llandrindod Well7,68441,398
2.DT Dorchester32,821178,177
3.TQ Torquay40,199263,655
4.TA Taunton46,154273,009
5.EX Exeter76,304454,456
6.HR Hereford23,807142,893
7.BH Bournemouth75,656458,217
8.SH Shrewsbury44,513271,258
9.NR Norwich92,824577,514
10.TD Galashiels14,15390,106

Should older drivers be banned from the road?

older drivers

Forty-nine percent of Brits want older drivers banned from the road completely. That’s according to a survey of 2,101 people in April 2019.

Or, to put it another way, 51 percent of Brits DON’T want older drivers banned from the road.

The CarTakeBack.com and YouGov survey asked adults for their personal views and attitudes towards driving ages, with 69 percent of the respondents believing older drivers should have to retake their driving test, starting at the age of 60.

Drivers must renew their licence when they reach the age of 70 and must repeat this every three years. Renewal is free of charge.

In November 2018, there were 5.3 million drivers over the age of 70 with a driving licence in Britain, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

There were 11,245 people involved in road traffic accidents when the driver was in this age group – a rate of two per 1,000 licence holders.

For the nation’s 2.8 million drivers aged 17 to 24, the rate was more than four times as high – nine per 1,000. This might be because younger drivers cover more miles than older people, but it would suggest that more mature drivers could be unfairly targetted.

Indeed, a 2016 study by Swansea University found that drivers aged 70 are involved in 3-4 times fewer accidents than 17-21-year-old men.

‘Less than half the crash rate’

happy older driver

Road safety charity Brake said drivers aged 60-69 “actually have less than half the crash rate than drivers aged 20-29”, arguing that older drivers are less likely to be distracted behind the wheel.

However, the risk of a person aged 60 or older being killed is more than double that of a younger person.

But one in ten of the respondents to this latest survey think a compulsory re-test should occur between the ages of 60 and 65, rather than the current 70. Reasons for this include:

  • Older drivers don’t have fast enough reaction times (71 percent)
  • Older drivers have bad eyesight (47 percent)
  • Older drivers drive slowly and cause more congestion (33 percent)
  • Older drivers don’t remember the rules of the road (26 percent)

‘Older drivers are among the safest’

older drivers

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Not surprisingly, the survey shows that many people blame the old and the young for crashes when this is not always the case.

“In reality, new drivers are the most at risk group and older drivers are among the safest. Statistics do however show that drivers over 85 do start to have more crashes as their faculties fade and their experience is no longer enough to compensate.”

When asked for a comment, a spokesperson for Brake said: “These are certainly some interesting findings that add to the debate about the most effective ways of ensuring the safety of our younger and older drivers who are amongst the most at risk on our roads.

“It is essential to have robust procedures in place that ensure younger and older drivers are not inadvertently putting themselves and others at risk.

“For older drivers, licence renewal at 70 prompts them to check and self-certify they are fit to drive but this process can be improved.

“The government needs to look at how fitness to drive regulation can be more rigorously enforced, such as compulsory eyesight testing throughout a driver’s career, rather than simply expecting drivers to self-certify that they are fit to drive.”

Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for cornersStraight-line speed is all very well, but it’s handling that really defines how a car drives. The interaction between steering, shock absorbers and suspension is a dark art that carmakers spend millions trying to master. However, when they get it right, the result can be unalloyed driving joy. That said, this article isn’t only about cars that handle like go-karts, corner like they’re on rails and (insert other journalistic cliché here). We’ve also included a few that like to go sideways – or suppress cornering forces altogether. Let us know if you agree with our choices.

Lotus EliseHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The sheer longevity of the Lotus Elise is testament to its brilliance. Launched in 1996, it has evolved steadily over the past 20 years, growing ever faster and more powerful without losing its purity of purpose. The Elise shows up just how large, heavy and over-complicated most modern cars have become. It’s a no-frills driving machine that will get under your skin faster than a ravenous mosquito.

Porsche Cayman GT4Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The hardcore Cayman GT4 saw Porsche’s mid-engined coupe emerging from the shadow of its big brother, the 911. For us, it’s the best driver’s Porsche in recent memory, changing direction with an immediacy that’s just the right side of hyperactive. Its compact footprint makes it perfectly-proportioned for UK roads, too. No wonder used GT4s are selling for more than they cost new.

Ferrari 430 ScuderiaHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

We could have nominated many Ferraris for this list, but the 430 Scuderia – ‘Scud’ to its friends – still stands out. With a stripped-out interior, carbon-ceramic brakes and sticky Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres, the Scuderia can lap Ferrari’s Fiorano test track as quickly as the Enzo hypercar. It’s a 510hp double espresso on wheels. Bellissma!

BMW M3 (E30)Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The BMW M3 is now into its fifth generation, so why do enthusiasts still hanker after the 1985-1992 original? The E30 M3 was a homologation special, a car born from BMW’s desire to go racing. That competition pedigree translates into a wonderfully responsive road car, with a dynamic finesse that later M3s lacked. Proof that more power doesn’t necessarily equal more fun.  

Ford Escort RS2000Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

There’s a reason many rally schools still use Mk1 and Mk2 Ford Escorts to teach the basics of rear-wheel-drive handling. Yes, these sporty saloons can often be seen going sideways – be it in McDonalds car park or a Welsh forest at night with Cibiés blazing – but they’re also reassuringly easy to control. With modest power and equally modest grip, you can have fun at any speed.

Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The GT86 and BRZ twins are perhaps the spiritual successors to the classic Escort, although they also hark back to Toyota’s rear-driven Corolla AE86. Again, these are cars you can enjoy at sensible speeds, helped by low-grip ‘eco’ tyres similar to those used on the Prius. Superb steering and brilliantly-balanced handling are the highlights here.

Mazda MX-5Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

If you’re in the market for a GT86 or BRZ, it seems rude not to consider the MX-5. This latest, fourth-generation take on the world’s best-selling sports car is the best yet. Indeed, smaller dimensions and reduced weight remind us what made the original MX-5 so great: the simple joy of driving one. A car you experience through your fingertips and the seat of your pants, the MX-5 is a feast for the senses.

Subaru Impreza P1Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Let’s shift our focus from tail-wagging rear-drivers for a while. Developed by motorsport maestros, Prodrive, the Subaru Impreza P1 is perhaps the finest road-going version of the car Colin McRae used to win the World Rally Championship. With 280hp channelled to all four wheels, it catapults out of corners with a ferocity that makes even a trip to the shops feel like a Kielder special stage.

Ford Focus RSHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Bringing the Impreza P1 formula bang-up-to-date is the latest Focus RS. Ford’s hottest hatch has trick front suspension to quell torque steer, plus a chassis with the uncanny ability to make the  four-wheel-drive RS feel like a rear-wheel-drive sports car. It also has something called Drift Mode, which is essentially a button that makes the car go sideways. What’s not to like about that?

Nissan GT-RHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The daddy of 4WD performance cars is, of course, the Nissan GT-R. Revamped for 2017 with 570hp, this is the original supercar-slayer – the beast the Japanese call ‘Godzilla’. Unlike many rivals, however, the GT-R is also very easy to drive. Its seating position is upright, ride comfort is better than you might expect and the control weights won’t scare somebody more used to a Micra. For average drivers (and we’re including ourselves here), nothing is faster.

Ford Fiesta STHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Power to the people! Driving fun doesn’t come much more affordable than the brilliant Fiesta ST. If any car currently on sale lives up to that ‘go-kart handling’ cliché, this is it. The ST changes direction like an overexcited puppy, and you’ll do well to suppress your inner boy/girl racer behind the wheel. Mark our words, this car will soon be ranked alongside the Peugeot 205 GTI in the hot hatch hall of fame.

Renaultsport Clio 200 CupHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Did somebody mention the 205 GTI? We’ll have a Clio Cup instead, thanks. The Renault is vastly cheaper to buy than the fast-appreciating Pug, which means you won’t have any qualms about thrashing it on your favourite B-road. Choose the stiffer Cup chassis for the ultimate hardcore hatch experience – just don’t expect many creature comforts.

Honda Integra Type RHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The Integra Type R is another to file under ‘front-wheel-drive legends’. Like the E30 M3 mentioned earlier, it’s a car designed for the racetrack first and the road second. Extreme weight-saving measures include thinner glass and the removal of the spare wheel cover, while a limited-slip diff ensures excellent traction. Prices for the Type R are now rising fast – a sign of the high esteem in which this homologation hero is held.

Caterham SevenHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

A rollerskate with an engine, the Caterham Seven makes a Fiesta feel like an articulated lorry. This is driving distilled: a steering wheel the size of a Playstation controller, a manual gearbox… and not much else. Higher-spec Sevens are ferociously fast, but the entry-level, three-cylinder 160 is still fabulous fun. Sevens are great track-day cars, too.

Honda NSXHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The adjective ‘game-changing’ is over-used, but applies 100% to the Honda NSX. The New Sportscar eXperimental proved supercars don’t need to be unreliable or difficult to drive. Yet it’s just as thrilling as any Ferrari or Lamborghini when its mid-mounted VTEC V6 screams to a heady 8,000rpm. Ayrton Senna helped develop the NSX’s chassis and his racing nous really shows on the road. It’s immediate, intuitive and, above all, wonderfully analogue.

Porsche 964 Carrera RSHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

You can be sure of three things when it comes to Rennsport Porsches. Firstly, they will be very expensive – even second-hand. Secondly, they will have silly fabric door handles that are supposed to save weight. And thirdly, they will be sensationally good to drive. The 1992 964 RS is our pick of the bunch. It’s a barely-disguised Carrera Cup racing car that needs to be handled with care, especially in the wet. But boy, is it exciting.

Ford Mustang V8Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Ford has made Mustangs since 1965, yet they’ve always been better suited to boulevards than B-roads. That changed with the latest (2015-) ’Stang – a pony car with independent rear suspension to take on its European rivals. Granted, the Mustang is still no Lotus Elise, but if a tyre-smokin’ surfeit of grunt over grip is your thing, walk this way.

TVR Tuscan Speed SixHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

If you’ve taken up smoking (of rubber, not tobacco) few products will satisfy your cravings better than the TVR Tuscan Speed Six. Built from 2000-2006, this British brute had a lightweight glassfibre body and a muscular straight-six driving the rear wheels. However, the Tuscan isn’t all power and no poise; it’s an exciting and rewarding drive for those brave enough to take the plunge.

Mercedes-AMG C63 Black SeriesHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

There are few glorious ways to use up our planet’s precious resources than a C63 Black Series. With motorsport-inspired suspension and a 517hp 6.2-litre V8 that sounds like God gargling, this factory-built hot rod will make you giggle like a seven-year-old on a bouncy castle. Actually, the bouncy castle is a bad analogy because the ‘Black’ feels utterly glued to the road. Unless you unstick it with the throttle, of course…

Honda Prelude 4WSHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

One of the giants of motoring journalism, LJK Setright, was a big fan of the Honda Prelude. Asked what he’d include in his dream garage, Setright said: “I would select the four-wheel steer Prelude, simply because no other car is as nice to drive. Wanting nothing but the very best, one would have to import the Japanese version of the VTEC, equipped with automatic transmission and limited-slip differential.”

Citroen Xantia ActivaHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

An old Citroen with complex, computer-controlled suspension? What could possibly go wrong? But find an Activa in good working order and it remains a thing of wonder. Hydraulic rams eliminate body-roll altogether, while also reducing squat/dive when accelerating/braking. The result is slightly unnerving at first, but your passengers will love the smooth-riding serenity of it all.

Audi SQ7Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The SQ7 is a modern take on the Xantia Activa, made all the more remarkable because it weighs 2.3 tonnes (nearly twice as much as the Citroen). Powered by a supplementary 48-volt electrical system, an electric motor deploys up to 885lb ft of torque to stiffen the anti-roll bars, making make this seven-seat SUV feel like a hot hatch. Talk about having your Black Forest gateau and eating it.

MiniHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Scroll through the drive modes in a modern MINI and you’ll find one labelled ‘Sport: for maximum go-kart feel’ (yep, there’s that cliché again). Brilliant handling was one reason for the original Mini’s incredible success, too – both on road and rally stage. It’s impossible to drive one without grinning ear-to-ear. A 1960s Cooper would be our dream-garage choice, but even a basic 848cc Mini is fabulous fun.

McLaren 675LTHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Former Top Gear host Chris Evans was so impressed by McLaren’s 675hp supercar, he spent his own money on one. That’s strong praise from a man with a serious Ferrari fetish. Those who’ve driven both cars say the 675LT shades even the mighty McLaren P1 for driver excitement. It’s monstrously powerful, yet confidence-inspiringly capable. To quote our own Richard Aucock, the big Mac is “two or three levels above most supercars”.

Lotus ElanHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

We started with the Elise, so it seems fitting to end with the Elan. The car that inspired the Mazda MX-5 is oh-so-pretty, yet absolutely tiny in the metal. Unassisted steering, independent suspension and super-skinny tyres telegraph every detail of the road surface, allowing you to exploit its modest limits with joyous abandon. More than 50 years on, has anyone made a better sports car than the Lotus Elan?