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Older drivers out of control? Think again, new research says

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Older drivers often get a bad rap on the road, despite younger drivers statistically having more crashes.

But a new US study has shown older drivers actually adapt their thinking on the road to improve their detection of hazards.

Using a program called the Driver Aware Task and two groups – one aged 21 to 30 and another aged 65 to 79 – the researchers compared how sensitive younger and older drivers were to hazards as well as their tendency to miss hazards or have false alarms.

While the younger drivers were faster and more accurate at identifying hazards, older drivers simply adjusted the criteria they used to detect dangers when the traffic increased.

Older drivers were more likely to have false alarms – reporting a hazard when there wasn’t one – in heavy traffic.

But the researchers say this flexibility is a good thing, with potential for re-training older drivers who may be feeling less sure about getting behind the wheel.

Time to let nanna take you out for a spin?

Lauren Broomham

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.


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