Elderly see pedestrians half as often as younger drivers: study

Mar 07, 2011

Elderly drivers are half as likely to see pedestrians on the sidewalk due to a limited field of view, and compensate in part by driving more slowly, according to a study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers.

In the online edition of , the study compared reaction times and perception of pedestrians as hazards between experienced elderly and non-elderly drivers.

The study was conducted in response to an increasing number of pedestrian-related among elderly drivers. Age 65 and older, the elderly are the fastest growing group in the Western world and more elderly drivers than ever are on the road.

BGU researchers used two evaluation methods: driving in a traffic simulator while watching video of traffic scenes, and identifying hazardous situations by pressing a button. The results of the video observation method showed that elderly drivers took longer to respond to pedestrian hazards. Approximately half of the pedestrian-related events presented in the videos were difficult for elderly drivers to perceive when compared with the non-elderly drivers.

The simulator drive test also revealed that the elderly performed "braking actions" half as often as the non-elderly group in response to pedestrians on sidewalks and shoulders. However, the elderly group attempted to cope with hazards by reducing their driving speed by almost 20 percent, providing them more time to process the potential hazards and dangers, even if they couldn't detect them.

"These findings strengthen the notion that elderly drivers, shown to have a narrower useful field of view (UFV), may also be limited in their ability to detect hazards, particularly when outside the center of their view," explains Tal Oron-Gilad, a researcher in the BGU Department of Industrial Engineering.

She recommends that while more research is needed, "authorities should be aware of these limitations and increase elderly drivers' awareness of by posting traffic signs or dedicated lane marks that inform them of potential upcoming hazards."

Explore further: Physicists create tool to foresee language destruction impact and thus prevent it

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hazards on the road ahead

Jul 25, 2007

Learner drivers are being invited to test how good — or bad — they are at spotting potential hazards on the road, with the help of University of Nottingham researchers.

Cell phone users drive like old folks

Feb 06, 2005

Elderly also drive worse when chatting, but not as bad as expected If you have been stuck in traffic behind a motorist yakking on a cellular phone, a new University of Utah study will sound familiar: When young motorists ...

Recommended for you

Affirmative action elicits bias in pro-equality Caucasians

18 hours ago

New research from Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business indicates that bias towards the effects of affirmative action exists in not only people opposed to it, but also in those who strongly endorse equality.

Election surprises tend to erode trust in government

Jul 24, 2014

When asked who is going to win an election, people tend to predict their own candidate will come out on top. When that doesn't happen, according to a new study from the University of Georgia, these "surprised losers" often ...

Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

Jul 23, 2014

(AP)—Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nik_2213
not rated yet Mar 07, 2011
Uh, you have skipped the unfortunate corollary that too many young drivers rely on their sharper reflexes rather than anticipating hazards...