How does aging affect driving ability?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures for 2018 show 700 over 65-year-olds are injured each day in car crashes. Another 20 per day die. Oak Ridge is a popular place to retire. There may be more older adults behind the wheel of cars than in other areas. You might be one of them.

Aging affects our ability to survive car crashes

As we age into our 60s, 70s and 80s, our body becomes more vulnerable to the effects of violent impacts such as vehicle collisions. A crash that a young person may walk away from could be fatal to an older person. Aging also affects our ability to drive:
  • Vision loss: Most people end up wearing glasses when they reach a certain age. If only for reading. Your vision deteriorates, which can affect your ability to spot hazards as you drive. Low lights can exacerbate this.
  • Hearing loss: This is another common occurrence as you age. Hearing is another way to pick out dangerous situations. It also helps you hear the warnings of other drivers.
  • Slowed reactions: When you spot the hazard, your brain may be slower to react and avoid it.
Combine these factors and the chances of a severe crash increase. An older brain needs more time to react to hazards. Yet, older eyes and ears give you less time to respond. That does not mean a crash is your fault. Insurers may try to use your age against you when their driver was the one at fault. If you are injured in a car crash, you will need to claim compensation. You might be older than the other driver, yet you may also be wiser.