This could be your greatest risk on the road 86



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Until now, older drivers have always had lower rates of road accidents and enjoyed reduced insurance premiums as a result. But a new study shows that one of the top five killers on our roads is something over 60s need to be particularly aware of to avoid accidents.

The study, by psychologists at Nottingham Trent University, found over 65s could be more dangerous drivers because they are significantly slower at processing distractions, The Telegraph reports.

While over 65s could process visual information on a screen just as quickly as 18-30 year olds, when what the researchers described as “distracting objects” were added to the screen, the ability to process information became “significantly slower” – up to three times so.

“The work clearly has implications for everyday situations in which visual scenes are composed of multiple objects – our research suggests older people would be significantly slowed in such situations,” said psychologist Dr Duncan Guest, from Nottingham Trent’s School of Social Sciences.

“Drivers, for instance, need to search cluttered visual scenes for targets such as road signs and buildings, while encoding and storing information about multiple other vehicles or hazards.”

He suggested one way to help improve older people’s response times when there were distractions was some form of intervention training.

In today’s more technological world, there are so many opportunities for distraction – a ringing phone, a digital map or the irresistible bleep of a  text message.

Let’s talk: do you think you are more distracted on the road these days?  And would you say your reaction times have slowed?  Have you ever answered a message or taken a phone call while driving?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Depends on the person I think. I don’t like it, but I drive on quite a number of busy roads so must pay attention as the traffic gets pretty heavy. I find some of the younger drivers change lanes a bit much and at short notice.

  2. Yes be more aware of the younger drivers as they think they know it all and drive like maniacs

    1 REPLY
    • Mike here-extra attention always paid when I see that ‘P’ for perfect plate on the car.

  3. It would vary from person to person but what is more notable is age and experience creates greater awareness and this often translates into fear when a potential incident is experienced. I believe the issue is more to do with the fear of a perceived outcome rather than the ability to cope with the situation. Call it panic or fearing the worst but it does come from many years of life experiences.

  4. Being 70 now, I have spent much time thinking about such issues. I would like to see a debate over the legal alcohol limit for elderly drivers. Our reactions are already slowed and perhaps. 03 should be the limit for over 60s.

  5. I don’t really think we are slower to respond. I think that we are more cautious because we have lived long enough to know what can happen when people make decisions to quickly. Better to take an extra second or two and be safe. Most drivers on the road speed and abuse anyone who is doing the speed limit, or they have to pass no matter what. Take the arrogant people off the road and leave us oldies alone.

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