"S" Plates for Oldies!


I was driving home from the shops on Saturday, and something occurred to me. Senior drivers should be made to display “S” plates on their cars.

Now before I attract the ire of the elderly community, allow me to expatiate ;{o

I was driving down Warrigal Road, which has a turning lane (dual) onto North Road. I was in the right most lane, and on my left was a P plater in a sedan. In front of me was an elderly couple in an older model Jaguar. Now, ole’ Miss was in the captains seat, and had a ciggie lit and was bellowing smoke out of the drivers side window as if she was getting ready to leave port. Pops was chilling out in the passenger seat, with the seat reclined further back than Habib does in his Gemini during a Saturday night ‘Chap Lap’. So the lights turn green, and all of us start to turn. Now, the car on the immediate left of Ma and Pa was quick off the mark, and disappeared down North Road quite quickly, so the P plater on my left decided to follow suit. As he tuned into his lane on North Road, ole’ Miss decides the turning arc was too aggressive, and takes the turn out like the hem of her Sunday dress; which causes the P plater to hit the brakes, then his horn, and then to start hurling abuse thicker than my best attempts at Ice Tea!

Ole’ Miss is too busy with her extended turning arc and her quickly shrinking Winnie Blue to be concerned about the P plater who is at this stage almost on the pavement, and continues on her merry way. I decide I should ease off the accelerator too, after observing ole’ Miss’ lazy lane switching action, and just in time I might add, as she decides my lane is now looking pretty cosy, and just switches straight into my lane, dispensing the need of her indicator (fair enough I suppose, it’s not like you need that on a weekend cruise!).

Now, don’t get me wrong (I find myself writing that little disclaimer quite a bit these days ;)), I’m not insinuating that seniors should not be driving, or that they should be refused licenses, not at all. Yes they do impose a slightly higher level of awareness on other drivers, as do Learner drivers, and Probationary drivers, which is why they must display a yellow L plate or red P plate respectively. It’s so you can identify them immediately, and adjust your driving style to accommodate their indiscretions. I reckon it’s a good idea that senior drivers should have an S plate, something regal and appropriate, maybe a nice lavender or mauve S plate.

I would hate if senior drivers lost their independence, so I don’t want to ban them off our roads (yes, you Today Tonight, 5th from top!!!) but I also think it’s better for them and everyone else if you could identify them. Again, it’s just the same principal for L platers and P platers.

In fact, I don’t think it’s a bad idea for us to introduce a few more “plates” into the system, for example, if you have a bad habit of knocking off a slab before you drive, you should be required by law to display a big Hi-Vis plate with an appropriate logo on your rear windshield (maybe an empty beer can superimposed with the skull and cross bones). Or if you like to reverse park without looking behind you, then you should have a reverse parking beeper fitted to your car.

The possibilities are endless!


Comments (9)

  1. Dave says:

    Outstanding idea!

    I’m willing to bet that Sophie Delezio’s

    parents will back you on this one too.

  2. Chris Gilbert says:

    I find myself agreeing with absolutely everything you’ve just said, especially since I live in a neighborhood inhabited predominantly by elderly drivers. That, and the fact that I recently had a brand new Jeep Wrangler reverse into me – parking sensors would be great thanks.

  3. Hi Dave,

    Don’t worry mate – I share your vision, 100%.

    I was a victem of an elderly driver.  He was a lovely old man, who had just finished up from a day at the bowls club.

    I was turning left and he was turning right (into the same road).  He decided not to indicate/stop, and turned right in front of me – I had to brake hard so that I wouldn’t t-bone him – but he was nice enough to brake and backup as well, letting me just squeese through.  I assume he had consumed a few tinnies with the fellow who was in the passengers seat – he seemed quite relaxed given the situation.

    So I decided I would let them be – it was just one mistake that any one could have made, right?

    Well, let this be some advice to you and all your listeners.  If you have an indicdent like that with an elderly driver, as nice as it is, do *not* take up on their offer to let you go first.  This is bad news.  This means that you can’t see them, and you can’t predict what they are going to do.  They are behind you!

    So I carry on, about to do a right hand turn into maroondah hwy, a very busy road.  There’s an island in the middle, so that if you want to turn right, you need to cross the oncoming traffic, and wait in the island and then turn right onto the hwy.

    So I crawled into the island, and waited there patiently for the traffic to clear.  As I am waiting, what do I see in my rearview mirror? Old Hartly getting closer and closer to the back of my car.  Old Hartly decided he was going to place his vehicle vertically behind mine on the island, and wait for the cars to clear with me!  That would have been fine if he pulled up next to me…but the problem was, he was sticking an entire cars length out onto the oncoming traffic on the hwy!  Hartly you old manaic!

    Next thing I know, BANG.  He drives right up my behind, sending my car jolting into the hwy.

    I reverse it a bit, stop it, get out, and theres old hartly sitting in his car, not a worry in the world.

    "What are you doing mate, you just ran up my ***??!?"

    "Did I??? No I didn’t!  Look, there’s no damage!"

    Well, old hartly’s eyes must of been a bit worse for wear (or maybe that was from the shandies at the bowls club), as there was quite a lot of scratching, and his entire number plate was jammed back into his front panel.

    I finally got his details (he heckled me for a while there, the old bugger… trying to convince me there was nothing wrong).

    Never heard from him since – luckily most of the damage was on his car…nothing a little touchup paint didnt fix for me!

    It gave me a royal fright though…I was giving old people dirty looks for the rest of the afternoon!

    Only if old Hartly had of invested in some ‘S’ plates, I might have been able to predict his non-indication and braking!

  4. Mark Cohen says:

    Hey,

    Your prejudice against senile delinquents is no good at all, you might even stand accused of age discrimination ;o)  I hope you don’t think like this when you are in interviews 😛

    Tell you what, I’d be far happier to put up with the Geriatric Patrol tenfold over the hoons in their souped up Nissans and WRXs that tear down my street might do to one of our kids one of these days.