Scientists have found that proper training programs with driving simulators can help older adults to improve their road skills and reduce the risk of car crashes as older people are at higher risk of car crashes than young drivers.
Some states and provinces test older drivers, hoping to get the riskiest drivers off the road.
But according to study authors- Normand Teasdale, Pierre-Luc Gamache, Carol Hudon and Martin Simoneau of Universite Laval in Quibec- the tests they use are inadequate.
Teasdale and his colleagues think a better approach to make older adults drive effectively is to help them improve their skills through the use of proper training using a driving simulator and appropriate feedbacks.
In experiments, they've found that coaching helps older drivers improve. in their experiment, older adults were tested on the road, then coached in a driving simulator. Then the drivers were tested again on the road-without coaching-and their driving improved.
"We actually walk them through their errors by showing them their own response. After the training, they really were aware of why they were making errors and what not to do," Teasdale said.
Teasdale's team hopes these methods may help keep older drivers behind the wheel longer without compromising road safety.
The study was published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.