Elderly People And Car Accidents – Older But Not Always Wiser?

This article is contributed by Sarah Henderson from Scotland.

Britain’s roads are busier than ever. And that’s not just because there are more and more cars on the road. People are living longer and many older people are choosing to drive well into their seventies – with some still behind the wheel in their eighties.

elderly car driver

With that has come more and more media noise about the potential dangers older drivers pose to other road users. In fact, alongside young drivers (aged 17-24) it’s older drivers (65 and above) who are increasingly the victims of sensationalist headlines. So what’s the truth?

Well, statistics still show that it’s younger drivers who are more likely to be the cause of and/or involved in road accidents. But there are still issues and problems that are common to older drivers which it’s good to be aware of. And we’re not talking about the odd one-off when someone drives down a motorway the wrong way!

Delayed reaction times

With older age comes the possibility of decreased reaction time to possible accidents on the road. And, if evasive action isn’t taken quickly, the result can be a collision or worse.

Confusion with new road signals

For many elderly drivers, the forest of new road signs, instructions and restrictions can prove to be a bit of an information overload – especially in busy towns and city centres.  If they leave young and middle-aged drivers scratching their heads, just imagine what they’ll do for someone who started driving maybe 50 or 60 years ago.

Poor lane discipline

A common problem amongst older drivers is a tendency to drift across lanes or be confused by lane markings at difficult junctions, roundabout or intersections. Again, this can be extremely hazardous to other drivers.

Difficulty turning

Judging turns from an intersection can make many drivers nervous. But statistics show that older drivers find it particularly difficult to turn right and cross lanes from a junction – preferring to turn into the natural direction of the flow of traffic. This results in more accidents with older drivers turning right.

Physical frailty

We may not care to admit it but as we get older, our bodies are not as robust as they used to be. So, one of the reasons for an excess of personal injuries or even fatalities involving older drivers is the fact they are more vulnerable physically. And of course there are other physical issues to be aware of which may affect their driving – like failing eyesight.

Author Bio:  Sarah Henderson is very passionate about car safety, especially when it comes to cyclists.  Sarah has held many campaigns and conferences to help cyclists become more safe on the roads. Her newest campaign is for HGV protection systems so an alarm sounds within the driver’s cab when a cyclist is in the blind spot .

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