As if getting older didn’t have enough worries, now there’s a noisy neuromuscular process. This came up in wondering Why Do Toyotas Hate The Elderly?. It seems that elderly drivers are over-represented in the recent spate of runaway car reports. The sample sizes are not sufficient to draw any reliable conclusions but the bias towards the elderly is worthy of note.
Physical limitations like limited peripheral vision and slower reflexes hardly explain these. What does, says UCLA psychologist Richard A. Schmidt, is a “noisy neuromuscular process.” Schmidt investigated more than 150 cases of unintended acceleration in the 1980s, many of which became the subjects of lawsuits.
Studies have indicated that older drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal crash per mile driven than all except the youngest drivers. This, coupled with the fact that driver distraction and inattention are by far and away the major causes of crashes should help you devise strategies to reduce your driving risks.
The National Institute on Aging AgePage for Older Drivers.
The NHTSA Older Drivers Program with pages about driving when you have common medical conditions and other reports and information.
The Mayo Clinic lists the top 7 tips for older driver safety. Stay active, manage chronic conditions, test hearing and vision regularly, understand your limitations, choose to drive only under optimal conditions, plan ahead, and update your driving skills. Know when it’s time to consider other alternatives.
Retirement provides time and opportunity to get out and enjoy the RV experience. These older drivers are usually the safest on the road, despite their age and the cohort risks. Be aware of your limitations, take appropriate precautions, and stay safe on the road.