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My name is Steve Young and I am a retired California Highway Patrol Officer. I will also be your instructor in one of the online traffic courses with B Line Traffic Schools. No matter what course you sign up for, my goals are the same: Present you with the information that you need in a way that will not put you to sleep and then get you back to your life.  Throughout some of the courses I have included interesting situations, people and other random things I have come across in my 25+ years with the CHP to break things up a bit. Ok ok, enough about me. Close this window and start your course with B Line Traffic Schools today.

Getting Older – Reaction Time, Vision, and Confidence

24 Apr Blog | Comments
Driving Cars in a Traffic Jam

Driving Cars in a Traffic Jam (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Getting older is never easy for anyone. It gets harder to move quickly. It is harder to lose weight. A person gets tired faster. Life slows down whether we want it to or not. I know it has been hard for me to watch my parents as they get older. But getting older is, unfortunately, part of life and can’t be avoided.

One of the biggest issues for folks getting older is losing more and more independence. And on that topic, I believe, the hardest would be to lose the ability to drive. It is something we strive for when we are teenagers and to have to give it up later in life has to be very difficult. There are several reasons for how a person gets to a point where driving is no longer an option.

Getting Older Slows Reaction Time

The first reason a person may either voluntarily stop driving or be forced to stop driving is that getting older slows a person’s reaction time. We all know that texting, eating, and talking on the phone are all distractions that can slow our reaction time down. But something that many people don’t think about until they encounter it is, that an older person’s reaction time naturally diminishes as time passes.

Part of that is due to an elderly person’s range of motion. As a person is getting older his or her range of motion lessens and gets slower. If you can’t move your head quickly it makes is hard to look in your blind spot as you get on the highway to see the car that is there. Or if you need to slow down and pull over for an ambulance. You need to look quickly and move over so you can get out of the way.

Getting Older Alters and Diminishes Vision

The next reason a man or woman may have to stop driving is from diminished vision. We all know that as we are getting older our vision gets progressively worse. At a certain point a person will not be able to read street signs, see the light changing colors, or see the runner/bike rider coming down the street. And although there are several surgeries to help with that, a person will get to the point where they just should not be driving. That is why when folks that are getting older go to renew their license they have to pass a vision exam.

Getting Older Lessens Confidence

Another reason a senior citizen who is getting older may decide it is time to stop getting behind the wheel is due to a lack of confidence. We all have those “oh my gosh” moments when we have a close call. But if the older person is noticing her or she is having more and more of those “close calls” then it is time to look at why.

As a person is getting older they begin to realize they are getting more and more fragile. If they fall a lot of the time they will break something. Whereas when they were younger they might fall, but usually they walked away with just a bruise. After a person falls a couple times, or has a couple of those “close calls” while driving it starts to lessen the confidence they have had in themselves for many years. The more confidence a person loses the more dangerous they become on the road.

There are many other reasons that a person who is getting older should stop driving, but those are 3 of the top ones. No one wants to take independence from a person, but there comes a time when there isn’t any alternative. Hopefully, the elderly person who is getting older will notice the red flags on his or her own and decide maybe it is time to stop driving. If they don’t, and you are their child it is your job to have a talk with them and find alternative ways that your parent can get around.

 

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