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One does not become a bad driver by virtue of old age. However, it is true that as one grows old, minor changes in the body takes place. To this end, an individual and his or her caregivers should be aware of what to focus on with regard to driving skills.
As one ages gracefully, his or her joints may become stiff and the muscles may grow weaker. This means that drivers may have difficulties in turning their heads to look around. In addition, it may be a herculean task for one to brake safely or maneuver a steering wheel quickly. Experts contend that the elderly should use power steering and brakes as well as automatic transmission and larger mirrors. There is also the need for one to be physically fit. An elderly person can remain young, flexible and strong by stretching, muscle building, yoga and endurance.
People between the ages of 40 and 64 should have their eyesight checked after 2-4 years. Individuals above the age of 65 should visit the doctors more often. There is the need to remove cataracts. If one is issued with glasses, he or she must wear them. Elderly persons are advised to cut back on driving at night, especially if they are not able to see in the dark. In addition, an individual should have his or her hearing checked. Always keep the volume of the radio down in order to hear sirens. It is also prudent to keep a close eye on the warning lights and the dashboard. The elderly should pay attention to medication and should not take any that contains a warning regarding feeling drowsy, less alert and lightheaded when driving. If one doubts his or her driving skills in bad weather conditions, it is prudent to go back or find a safer route that avoids interstates. Moreover, a refresher course can help in reducing one’s insurance bill.
If one gets lost or experiences challenges on the roads, it is prudent to give up driving. Different Area Agency on Aging services provides rides for the elderly. An individual may find more information through www.eldercare.gov.
A study that was conducted by the University of Florida shows that occupational therapists have the ability to determine ideal elderly drivers. In order to arrive at their conclusions, the researchers analysed 5,345 driving crashes and database records from the 2005 Florida Traffic Crash. They found that the average age of the older drivers stood at 76.08 years, with 54.3% being males. From the analysis, older female drivers (44%) had higher crash-related injuries compared to the male drivers (29%).
Through the research, one can easily classify violations based on the different types of driving errors. This information is useful for lawmakers and occupational therapists. According to Sherrilene Classen, a researcher and an assistant professor at the esteemed University of Florida, occupational therapists should review the patterns of driving performance. Lane maintenance errors as well as judgement and timing issues have been the main causes of crash-related injuries. The other causes of crash-related injuries are regulation errors, vehicle positioning errors and adjustments to stimuli errors.
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