Let’s be honest – navigating directions can get the best of any of us at one time, or another. I don’t know a single soul who has ever claimed they have never had to pull a U-turn, pull over on the side of the road, or find an alternate route in order to reach their preferred destination. Directions can be tricky and maps can sometimes feel like they are written in another language (… of course, if your map always feels like it was written in another language, you should make sure you’ve picked up the right one!). Ultimately, many of us get lost.
Driving is a luxury that allows many individuals to be independent. As we age, our five senses (tasting, touching, hearing, smelling, seeing) tend to decline and as a result, can sometimes be the reason as to why an older adult can no longer drive themselves around town.
But, in an article by The Globe and Mail, Phil Blythe, professor of Intelligent Transport Systems at New Castle University, says this is rarely the reason why seniors decide to stop driving. In fact, “some older drivers give up on driving because they simply don’t feel comfortable behind the wheel.”
Blythe and a team of researchers in the United Kingdom are in the process of developing a new technology to study older drivers, and help keep them on the road longer. The team “outfitted an electric car with eye trackers, bio-monitors and tracking systems in order to help them understand the habits of older drivers. A driving simulator allows the research team to monitor eye movement, speed, reaction, lane position, braking, acceleration and driving efficiency,” The Globe reports.
“Most of us would expect older drivers always go slower than everyone else but surprisingly, we found that in 30 mph zones they struggled to keep at a constant speed and so were more likely to break the speed limit and be at risk of getting fined,” Amy Guo, the leading researcher, said in a press release.
With these findings, the team’s intentions are to look at the benefits of different systems that could help control speed as a way to prevent this issue from affecting the safety of older drivers.
So the question is: Would you feel safer with this innovative idea, or not?