Driving is an activity many people in the Sartell area enjoy well into their golden years. It helps many seniors maintain a sense of mobility and independence. It is not uncommon to see older drivers in traffic. However, car accidents involving seniors happen a lot more than people may think.
Growing older presents some challenges that can interfere with elderly individuals’ ability to operate their vehicles safely. Here is a brief overview of how the effects of aging impact seniors’ driving abilities.
Trouble with recollection
Seniors start to experience problems with their memories as they age. Their cognitive processes slow down, making it harder for them to recall traffic laws, proper driving responses and assessing hazardous driving conditions.
Age causes changes in vision. Seniors are highly susceptible to vision problems, such as glaucoma, cataracts and age-related degeneration. These vision changes interfere with their depth perception and ability to see traffic signs, signals, lanes and at night and at times when visibility is limited.
Medication and health-induced drowsiness
Some seniors have health conditions they manage with medications that make them drowsy and less alert, and which slightly impairs their cognitive and physical responses. Also, their health conditions may cause the same effects. Many research studies show the dangers of drowsy driving; when age is added to the equation, the dangers increase significantly.
Loss of hearing
Hearing is one of the last senses people lose as they get older. Seniors, however, may develop partial or temporary hearing loss and changes that impact their ability to recognize the sounds of honking horns, sirens, trucks and other noise that might alert them to hazards and conditions that require their immediate attention and action.
Older people are more likely to cause motor vehicle collisions because of the effects of age on their bodies. They are also less likely to feel comfortable driving on highways and in areas where there are fast speeds posted. They are some of the safest drivers on the roads because they rarely drive recklessly. However, they can cause and are often involved in car accidents.