Narrow Field of Vision in Elderly Motorists Increases Accident Risks

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A new study indicates that one of the reasons why elderly motorists are more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents is because they have a narrower field of vision that reduce the chances of spotting a pedestrian stepping onto the curb or sidewalk.  In fact, according to the researchers, it’s probably to make up for this narrow field of vision that elderly drivers drive as slowly as they do.

According to the researchers, their study of drivers aged above 65 used simulator programs to determine how a narrow field of vision affects a person’s driving ability.  The researchers found that drivers above the age of 65 took a longer time to spot pedestrians on the street.  They also took a much longer time to respond by braking when they spotted a pedestrian.  It’s probably to deal with these visual problems that elderly motorists drive slower than younger drivers.  According to the same researchers, elderly drivers tend to drive at least 20% slower than younger drivers.

The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention.  California car accident attorneys have known that elderly drivers suffer from a number of physical challenges affecting their driving abilities.  These challenges are not as simple as simply blurring vision and diminishing hearing.  Even though an elderly motorist may see things clearly, he may have trouble interpreting the signals from his brain.  This is the reason why researchers recommend modifying highway signs and traffic signs to make them more visible to elderly motorists who have a narrower field of vision.  Lane markers can also be used to provide strong visual cues to elderly motorists about possible risks ahead.

California has a booming population of seniors, and these are expected to constitute a large percentage of the driving population in the next couple of decades.  Highway safety and transportation agencies in California need to take the safety needs of this burgeoning population of senior motorists into account while redesigning highways and safety aids.

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