A 100-year-old driver who claims to have been behind the wheel for 87 years says Britain’s roads and motorists’ manners have never been worse than they are now.
Centenarian Eric Dixon says he has been driving for 87 years – getting his first job behind the wheel of a three-tonne lorry after leaving school aged just 13.
Since then he has driven every vehicle – from motorcycles to double-decker buses – and still motors around in his Kia Picanto to this day, with no intention of stopping.
Asked how the highways have changed over the decades, Eric said the roads where he lives in Canterbury are in a poorer state than ever, with ‘potholes the worst they have ever been.’
He added that roads have filled up and he fears things will get worse. ‘There was always plenty of courtesy and it was one thing that was drilled into me when I was learning to drive,’ he said. ‘There are no manners today.’
Centenarian Eric Dixon says he has been driving for 87 years – getting his first job behind the wheel of a three-tonne lorry after leaving school aged just 13
Eric said the roads where he lives are in a poorer state than ever, with ‘potholes the worst they have ever been’. Pictured: One of the potholes in the village of West Hougham, Kent
According to surveys, the average age at which people give up driving is 75. But Eric, who passed his driving test aged on his 17th birthday, insists there is nothing he did in his 60s which he can’t do now.
As well as still getting out on the roads, the 100-year-old still takes good care of his immaculate garden, cleans his windows and even climbs up to clear his gutters.
He said people ‘worry about my age rather than what I can do.’
He was watching ITV’s 100-Year-Old Driving School, which followed motorists in their 90s and older undergoing an assessment overseen by examiners.
He said ‘I was damn certain I was better than they are,’ he says. ‘But then I wondered if it was me thinking I was better than I am.
‘Some of them should not be driving and it was them who made me think seriously about myself.’
He booked himself in for a government-approved test in 2017 to find out for sure that he was fine to still be on the roads.
The assessment included a nurse carrying out physical checks and asking Eric questions about his health.
Eric has driven every vehicle – from motorcycles to double-decker buses – and still motors around in his Kia Picanto to this day, with no intention of stopping
Centenarian Eric Dixon with his birthday card from the King and Queen
He says the driving test was the toughest he had taken as ‘it included so much more’ than others, but that he still got ’10 out of 10′.
Eric says he could drive from Kent to any capital of Europe without a map or signposts – because he worked for a car company for 37 years after leaving the army.
The only time Eric had points on his licence was in the 1940s when he says he parked on zig-zag road lines in London.
He retired from the East Kent Road Car Company in 1984, and now lives a happy life with partner Margaret, who lives next door.
But despite quitting work, Eric has continued to lead a life on the roads.
In the autumn last year, he bought his current car, a Kia Picanto, having previously driven a Skoda.
Even aged 100 he shows no sign of slowing down and his passion for driving remains just as strong.
He still has a remarkable bill of health – with no need for carers or walking aids.
He said: ‘I am not on any medication. I lived on bags of fruit and vegetables from a boy during the war. You had to or you would go hungry.’