Limitations of the elderly as drivers and pedestrians
The elderly have a long experience as drivers and, usually, a very cautious attitude when driving, as they do not run, do not take, only exceptionally, alcoholic drinks, use the safety belt more frequently that other drivers, do not commit infractions consciously and usually keep their car in a perfect condition.
However, often and unconsciously, they do not respect the signals, turn without previous notice and do not give the way.
Despite the increased number of drivers older than 60-65 years and the number of kilometers run, the increased involvement in traffic accidents has been lower than expected.
And this can be due to the fact that the elderly driver uses less risky strategies for driving. Therefore, for example, he does not utilize his car in adverse weather conditions, and does not drive at night, usually avoids dense traffic, does not travel under the influence of alcohol, drives at moderate speed and drive, in general, for less kilometers.
In conclusion, the elderly person either driver or pedestrian takes a lower risk, knows his limitations and reduces his mobility to avoid the road risk.
The hearing impairment with difficulty to recognize and distinguish sounds, the slow and less safe walking, the reduced attention, the slow responses, the lower ability for learning, the overload of information particularly in city driving or in highways, and the difficulties to integrate the information received, ion, explain the significant difficulties of elderly people when driving or going for a walk in the streets.
Furthermore, as the elderly person in many aspects of life is seen excluded or marginalized, the same happens with the driving environment and the safety of pedestrians. Traffic is not designed for elderly drivers. The elderly erson often finds himself in an adverse or hostile environment.
Aging is associated with a higher incidence of accidents in crossroads, that can be due to an impairment in the visual field, the lower mobility of the head and neck, and to the difficulties in processing the information on distances and speeds.
The design of the cars is often in compliance with the needs of young people and not of elderly drivers.
Advice on the limitations of the elderly people as drivers or pedestrians
- New situations, regulatory changes, modifications in signaling and in road infrastructure result in additional insecurity for the elderly driver, and this justifies in the elderly the need for an educational, informative programs that helps them to drive safety and prevent accidents.
- An individual study of the elderly driver is essential to identify any health condition inadequate to drive.
- The principle of confidentiality only permits to notify the patient his health condition and give the relevant medical advice.
- Thus, we should have the greatest caution and discretion in this evaluation. If we intend to protect both our patients and other citizens, we should know the factors enhancing diseases and that allow for predicting a loss of faculties for driving.
- Medical intervention together with the psychological evaluation and information to the family will be determinant in the follow-up of the elderly subject in terms of renewal of the driving license, for his safety and that of others.