Today, you can often see an elderly person over the age of 60 in the modern car . The number of those who wish to drive has greatly expanded recently. What is the reason for this? The obvious progress of all life in general. After all, for both young and old, the car as a means of transportation expands communication opportunities, giving independence and freedom from other circumstances.
According to the 24th Minsk city polyclinic of special medical examinations, the number of elderly drivers (over 60 years) undergoing medical examination is about 12%. So, in 2016 of the 110,000 people who passed the commission, 12,000 were persons over 60 years old – 11%. Drivers who were not allowed to drive for medical reasons – 0.2%. Every fifth among those are not admitted to driving by health is the persons over 60 years old.
Let’s talk about the benefits first. Elderly drivers already have a solid driving experience, so they behave confidently and dignifiedly on the road, do not disregard traffic rules, pay attention to signs, do not risk their health and are likely to be careful in extreme weather conditions such as ice, snow, fog. The result is a very low percentage of getting into emergency situations on the roads.
But, unfortunately, even a rich life experience is not able to compensate for some psychophysiological changes in the body that inevitably come with age.
First, it is a lack of vision. The driver receives 90% of the information necessary to ensure road safety through the eyes. Under influence of age, it fail at the several positions at the same time: sharpness – the ability to clearly see what is ahead, especially at night; peripheral vision is the ability to see what is happening on the right and left, looking straight ahead; adaptation – the speed at which your eyes adjust to changes in lighting, and also switch from near vision to far and vice versa; depth of vision – the ability to assess the speed of movement of other cars. The amount of light that the person needs to drive safely doubles every 13 years, meaning a 60-year-old driver needs 10 times more light than a 19-year-old.
Secondly, there are changes in the body – the muscles of the elderly are already relaxed, the joints are inactive. Such drivers are more difficult to cope with the steering and brakes. Here, you can add hearing impairment, which is also important on the road.
Thirdly, the slow perception of information. And it does not depend on general mental abilities! The reflexes slow down and doing several things at the same time becomes more difficult. In addition, elderly drivers are more distracted by extraneous stimuli, such as noise.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, it is worth remembering the numerous age-related chronic diseases that make driving even more difficult, such as cataract and glaucoma, arthritis, diabetes, cardiac arrhythmia and so on. And after all, these diseases may require medical treatment and some necessary medications further impair the ability of older people to ensure their safety on the road.
What is the advice we can give to drivers over 60? Is the only way to give up driving at all? No! Every elderly driver and his family should weigh all the pros and cons and decide whether driving a car is too dangerous or not. If the pluses are more – excellent, just do not forget about the condition of your health!