Cause and Effect Essay: Deteriorating Health Causes Problems for Elderly Drivers


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Driving is a simple task that many of us do on a daily basis. Most
people are safe drivers, while a few are incapable of driving safely.
Safe and capable is how most senior citizens can be viewed; however,
there are some factors that can make a senior citizen dangerous
behind the wheel. Some of the problems with the elderly today are that
their reflexes react slower, they are hearing impaired, or a physical
health change can be a big problem. Research has shown everyone ages
differently and growing old does not necessarily mean a person becomes
a safety hazard on the road. Much depends on the person's physical and
mental health as the years pass. Because people age differently there
should be certain test given to the elderly after the age of 65.

First, an annual hearing test should be given to the elderly. About
thirty percent of those over age 65 are hearing impaired. The ability
to hear is more important to driving than most people realize. Hearing
can warn a driver of danger signals like the sound of screaming
sirens, honking horns, or screeching tires. There are occasions when a
driver can hear a car but can't see it because of a blind spot. Good
hearing helps drivers to be sensitive to what is happening on the
roadways around them.

Secondly, An annual visual acuity test should be given to the elderly.
The elderly are not tested periodically so more often than not visual
changes occur and go undetected. Passing a simple eye-test should
guarantee clear sight. But many elderly people have visual defects
that make it difficult for them to see road signs and pedestrians.
Senior citizens may need to slow their vehicles to read a road sign,
which can put them at risk for an accident with faster traffic. If
they do not slow down, the risk may be smaller, but they cannot read
the sign. Obviously, challenge of driving is not one that can be
easily solved for the elderly.

Lastly, a test on sensory motor skills should be given to the elderly.

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Arthritis or change in posture may make it difficult for a senior to
operate the vehicle properly. Reduced muscle strength or loss of
coordination can also limit driving ability. If a senior citizen does
not have full range of movement on his/her neck it would be difficult
to turn and check a blind-spot and could have an accident. Some
elderly drivers feel that they need to be more cautious by driving
slower to compensate for their slow reaction to other drivers, but in
most cases, it only causes more accidents on the road.

I do not want to discriminate against the older driver. There are good
and bad drivers of every age. But our population is ageing, putting
more elderly drivers behind the wheel. I believe there should be
certain precautions taken to keep our roads safe. Our main precaution
should be making annual test mandatory to senior citizens over the age
of 65. Because people age differently no one over the age of 65 should
be excluded.


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