04.04.2016 Car Insurance
There are more and more older drivers are on the roads these days. Older age should not automatically suggest a dangerous driver.
Having said that, nothing is going to stop changes to your bodies as older age takes hold. And sadly a lot of these changes can put you and other road users at risk. So how does your age effect driving? Here’s a few ways…
Factors effecting older drivers safety
Hearing - Hearing is an important part of safe driving it allows us to react properly to other cars on the road, danger or mistakes by ourselves and other drivers and emergency sirens. Most commonly, it is caused by changes in the inner ear that occur as you grow older. The dangers of hearing on the road might mean difficulty hearing things in busy traffic areas, difficulty distinguishing high-pitched sounds like sirens, voices may sound mumbled and there may be ringing heard in the driver’s ear.
Eyesight - Good eyesight is essential for safe driving so you can see oncoming traffic, oncoming obstacles or traffic lights as you drive. As you grow older, your driving can be challenged because you lose peripheral vision and your reaction times can be slower. The eyesight problems from eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration or glaucoma can also affect your driving. It may take you longer to react to other cars, read street or traffic signs or even recognize familiar places.
Muscle reflexes - Over time joints get stiffer, muscles weaken and it can be harder to turn your head to look back, quickly turn the steering wheel or safely hit the brakes. The main cause is that bone mass or density is lost and bones lose calcium and other minerals. The dangers of this may mean your might not leave enough room between you and the car in front, you might not break in time when you need to stop and you might find it difficult in busy traffic area.
Conditions – Older people with illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia may forget how to drive safely. They also may forget familiar routes and become more likely to make driving mistakes. Other conditions like arthritis, Parkinson’s diseases, diabetes and the effects of a stroke or lack of sleep can also cause driving problems too.
Devices & Medication – Devices such as an automatic defibrillator or pacemaker might cause an irregular heartbeat or dizziness which can make driving dangerous. Many medications can also interfere with safe driving by slowing reaction time, causing drowsiness and inducing confusion, making driving even more dangerous for everyone on the road.
Visit aig.ie to see how drivers 50 and older can save with AIG.