Àngela Coromina, focused on the road ahead in one of the images from her Instagram account. @iaiaangeleta
The 93-year-old great-grandmother still behind the wheel in Spain who never turns the radio on to avoid distractions

The 93-year-old great-grandmother still behind the wheel in Spain who never turns the radio on to avoid distractions

Àngela Coromina uses her car every day to go shopping and carry her great-grandchildren to and from school. Her adventures in her red Fiat are followed by over 100,000 fans on Instagram

José Antonio Guerrero

Wednesday, 8 May 2024, 23:27


Àngela Coromina Roca will renew her driving licence in July, as she does religiously every year. For the woman known as Yaya Angeleta, getting behind the wheel of her little red Fiat 500 gives her life. At 93 she might just be the great-grandmother of all Spanish drivers. The endearing Yaya doesn't let up: she drives her car to the supermarket, then she heads off to buy bread in the next village and picks up her two great-grandchildren from Vic secondary school, seven kilometres from her home in Roda de Ter (Barcelona).

"I really like driving. If I don't get my licence renewed in July, I'll buy a motorbike, but not one of those Kawasakis, nope, one of those 3-wheelers with a little basket between the handlebars. I've got it all figured out!" says this friendly lady, born when Alfonso XIII was still on the throne and owning a car was an unattainable luxury for the vast majority of people.

Angeleta is a model driver, a shining example to silence those people who see driving as a huge risk for the elderly. Her eyes are 100% on the road, "I don't even have the radio on so as not to get distracted", and she doesn't even think of picking up her mobile phone. "It can ring and ring, I just do my own thing." She never goes over 90kmph, "except on some downhill stretches when I get to 120 because otherwise the lorries will eat me up", and she has an immaculate record of zero fines.

La yaya (iaia in Catalan, as she appears on her Instagram account 'iaiaiaangeleta', where she has 113,000 followers) got her driving licence when she turned 50, "very young!" she says with a laugh. Until then she had been a farm-worker and then, when she moved to the village as a textile factory worker, she had to sign up for driving lessons because her husband was terrified of cars. "My grandfather didn't have the guts to get his own licence, so she got it herself", says Jordi, Angeleta's only grandson, who helped her open her Instagram account where she shares her anecdotes on board her red Fiat. She first drove it 14 years ago, before that she had a Nissan Micra and a "fabulous" Renault 5.

181,000 DRIVERS over 80 years of age

In Spain there are 181,171 men and women over the age of 80 with a driving licence, according to data provided by the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT). The official statistics do not show how many are over 90 years old. Overall, drivers over the age of 80 account for less than 0.7% of the total number of people with a licence in Spain, which stands at around 27.7 million.

Angeleta has been driving her car every day for more than 40 years, but now she only does it in the area around Roda de Ter, never at night "and with great respect for traffic regulations", states Jordi, father of the two great-grandchildren that his grandmother chauffeurs. Jordi's grandmother berates him every time he dares to get behind the wheel. "She tells me not to drive so close to the kerb, that I'm not checking my rear-view mirror, that I shouldn't speed.... She's the worst back-seat driver when she's the passenger!"

A hit on Instagram

Angeleta is in perfect health and headstrong. "She's like a solid oak tree. She only takes half a pill for her blood pressure," says her grandson. She lives alone, does all her own housework and cooks for the family.

Jordi convinced her to open an Instagram account when he realised that, every time he told some tale about his yaya's adventures on his own account, it was a smash hit. Now Angeleta has stolen the hearts of her followers with her stories. She has been interviewed by the media in Mexico and Argentina "and the TV stations call us a lot, but Yaya has been around the sun 93 times and we don't want to overwhelm her."

A couple of years ago Angeleta was told at a medical check-up that she could no longer drive because of her failing eyesight. She left the health centre and went straight to have cataract surgery. She returned 15 days later. "Let's see now", she said to the doctor with that courage forged from working the land. They could not help but renew her licence.

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