Driving is a complex, fast-paced activity. A typical driver makes 25 decisions per kilometer.
Aging affects all 3 steps in the driving process: sensing, deciding and acting.
Good eyesight is essential for safe driving. You receive 85-90% of the information needed to drive through your eyes. One of the most common changes you will notice is with your vision. Here are some facts about aging and the eyes:
·You need more light to see
·At age 45 you require 4 times as much light as when you were 19
·At age 60 you require 10 times as much
·When looking from the speedometer to the road ahead:
·It takes a younger driver about 2 seconds to focus
·A driver over 40 takes 3 seconds or more
·Your eyes become more sensitive to glare:
·At age 55 it takes 8 times longer to recover from glare than at age 16
·Your ability to see the difference between colours decreases
·It could take you twice as long to see brake lights flash on as when you were younger
·Your peripheral vision or ability to see what’s happening to the sides, decreases
·It might take you longer to see the cyclist coming up beside your car
As you age the chance of having one of these visual conditions increases:
·Your ability to focus slows down
·Your depth perception or judging the distance between you and an object, decreases
·You might have difficulty judging when it is safe to make a left turn
·But there are some simple steps you can take to help minimize the effect aging eyes can have on driving:
·Get regular eye exams
·Limit your driving to daytime hours
·Keep healthy and fit
·Keep headlights, mirrors, and wind-shields clean
Hearing loss can affect your ability to hear sounds such as sirens and horns. If hearing loss is found early you can be helped through treatment, such as hearing aids and surgery.
Once your eyes and ears take in information, it’s up to your brain to process it and decide what to do. Age increases the time it takes the brain to process information and makes it harder to ignore distractions. For many people, experience and good driving habits can compensate for these changes.
Here are a few things you can do:
·Keep a safe distance behind the car in front of you
·Choose a route that avoids difficult turns
·Focus on driving: avoid distractions such as cell phones
·Plan your route ahead of time
As you age it takes longer to perform physical activities due to: