Elderly Drivers Drive Slowly to Compensate for Limited Field of View: Study

by Sheela Philomena on  March 8, 2011 at 12:54 PM Senior Health News
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Older drivers may have ample driving experience, but when it comes to pedestrians they have a narrow field of vision and thereby compensate by driving slowly, according to a study.
 Elderly Drivers Drive Slowly to Compensate for Limited Field of View: Study
Elderly Drivers Drive Slowly to Compensate for Limited Field of View: Study

In the online edition of Accident Analysis and Prevention, the study compared reaction times and perception of pedestrians as hazards between experienced elderly and non-elderly drivers.

The study was conducted in response to an increasing number of pedestrian-related accidents among elderly drivers. Age 65 and older, the elderly are the fastest growing group in the Western world and more elderly drivers than ever are on the road.

BGU researchers used two evaluation methods: driving in a traffic simulator while watching video of traffic scenes, and identifying hazardous situations by pressing a button. The results of the video observation method showed that elderly drivers took longer to respond to pedestrian hazards. Approximately half of the pedestrian-related events presented in the videos were difficult for elderly drivers to perceive when compared with the non-elderly drivers.

The simulator drive test also revealed that the elderly performed "braking actions" half as often as the non-elderly group in response to pedestrians on sidewalks and shoulders. However, the elderly group attempted to cope with hazards by reducing their driving speed by almost 20 percent, providing them more time to process the potential hazards and dangers, even if they couldn't detect them.

"These findings strengthen the notion that elderly drivers, shown to have a narrower useful field of view (UFV), may also be limited in their ability to detect hazards, particularly when outside the center of their view," explains Tal Oron-Gilad, a researcher in the BGU Department of Industrial Engineering.

She recommends that while more research is needed, "authorities should be aware of these limitations and increase elderly drivers' awareness of pedestrians by posting traffic signs or dedicated lane marks that inform them of potential upcoming hazards."

Source: Eurekalert

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"Beyond Driving with Dignity; The workbook for the families of older drivers". This user-friendly workbook was developed to offer concerned families a working roadmap [complete with actual exercises] on how to address the issue of driving safety with an older adult in your family. The workbook has been designed to offer additional peace of mind to families, help older drivers maintain their independence and dignity, and at the same time help prevent unnecessary deaths and injuries on our nation's roadways. Please visit our website at www.keepingussafe.org to learn more about the Beyond Driving with Dignity workbook. Matt Gurwell Founder and CEO Keeping Us Safe 877-907-8841 www.keepingussafe.org email: info@keepingussafe.org

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