Driver's lucky escape after accidentally reversing down boat launch

·2-min read
The car in the water after reversing down a boat launch in the New Forest in February.See SWNS story SWBRcar. A driver had a miracle escape after he accidentally reversed down a boat launch - landing fully submerged in the water. Police say the motorist was
A car in the water after its driver accidentally reversed down a boat launch in the New Forest, Hampshire. (SWNS)

A driver had a lucky escape when his car submerged after he accidentally reversed down a boat launch into water.

Police said the 70-year-old man from Southampton was "lucky not to lose his life" after the incident in the New Forest, Hampshire, in February.

New Forest Heart Police posted an image on its Facebook page on Monday that showed the car covered in water.

The force said the man had been taking an evening drive around the New Forest on 2 February before trying to complete a turn in the road.

However, he accidentally reversed down a boat launch and plunged his vehicle into the water.

Local residents who were nearby managed to lift the man from the water.

He was taken to hospital and later diagnosed with vascular dementia. Caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, it can cause slowness of thought and leave sufferers disorientated or confused.

The man has since surrendered his driving licence.

The New Forest Heart Cops Facebook account said: "We're urging older drivers to take advantage of the help available to them so that they can stay safe on the road for longer, after a pensioner had a lucky escape."

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A cold frosty morning in the New Forest, Hampshire
A driver accidentally reversed his car into a boat launch in the New Forest. (File photo: PA)

Sergeant Nick Tucker said: “We all grow older, and our eyesight and some of our abilities diminish over the course of time. We do not always know, notice or realise that this is happening to us over the years.

"If you have an older relative or friend who drives, speak to them about their driving and how they feel about it.

"Remind and encourage them to have their eyesight routinely checked and if they have any concerns about their health, have them speak to their GP about driving.

"With the support of this driver and his family we wanted to highlight this incident to show the real life implications of growing older and driving.

"He surrendered his driving licence with dignity. It is lucky that he did not lose his life that evening."

Sergeant Dave Hazlett said: “The key message is about not becoming complacent about our driving. We know that many older drivers have a wealth of experience, however, as we get older our sight, hearing, reaction times and judgement of speed and distance may not be as sharp as it once was.

“Our advice is don’t wait until you have a near miss, or worse, an accident to convince you to review your driving ability or to stop driving. Instead take preventative measures by planning ahead and seeking advice and support early."

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