- 14 March 2020
How to continue driving safely with the passing years... Physical abilities, much like cognitive abilities and vision, tend to diminish over the years. Let’s just say that the spryness of our youth slowly disappears as we age!
Energy levels and the ability to carry on while tired also drop. A good example to better understand this deterioration is to think about the rechargeable batteries used to power various devices we use every day. Over time, these batteries discharge at a faster clip, becoming less efficient than they once were. A similar process occurs in the human body, with components and functions slowly losing power with the passing years, in part due to a drop in the hormonal system’s efficiency. [CTJ1]
And while driving may seem like the most innocuous of pursuits, especially for those with decades of experience, it is nonetheless a highly complex activity. Various skills are needed to drive, among them a good sense of perception (vision and hearing), the ability to quickly assess data (cognitive skills) and excellent coordination (steering wheel, pedals). This goes a long way towards explaining why we get tired after a long car ride or when driving in difficult conditions.
Movements are increasingly restricted. The human body tends to stiffen up with age. Add to that slower muscle responses and you can imagine how some maneuvers can be a bit harder to master. One example of this is checking your blind spot, which calls for a pronounced turning of the head within a mere fraction of a second. Unfortunately, there is no fountain of youth to rejuvenate older drivers! This means you will need to compensate for any diminishing abilities with increased vigilance and foresight.
Being a safe, cooperative and responsible driver requires a hearty dose of self-honesty and the ability to both acknowledge a change in one’s abilities and make the necessary adjustments when behind the wheel. For example:
- Avoid driving at night or when road conditions are difficult, both of which require a significant amount of energy;
- Plan frequent stops when taking long trips and at the first sign of fatigue, rest up for as long it takes to recover;
- When purchasing a vehicle, look for models with driver assist functionalities (blind spot warnings, adaptive cruise control, etc.) which, while not stripping you of all control, give you that bit of help that might make all the difference.[CTJ2] These tips are designed to keep you safe behind the wheel while also limiting how tired you get while driving. A win-win!
Other blog articles thay may interest you
THE EFFECTS OF AGING ON DRIVING (PART 1 - EYESIGHT)
THE EFFECTS OF AGING ON DRIVING (PART 2 – COGNITIVE ABILITIES)
WHEN YOU’RE BEING FOLLOWED BY AN EMERGENCY VEHICLE...
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