AAA Research has shown that fatigue and poor physical function are the main factors behind older adults giving up driving.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Apr. 25 April 2019 – The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released new research that shows that older adults can be less safe and more fatigued. Simple steps like regular exercise and stretching can help older adults stay on the roads longer and improve their driving skills.
The AAA Foundation asked Columbia University researchers to assess eight domains – depression, anxiety and fatigue, sleep disturbances, pain interference and pain intensity, physical functioning, pain intensity and participation in social activities. This was to understand how changes in mental, physical and social health can affect driving mobility for older people. According to the report, older drivers who spend less time behind a wheel are more likely to experience fatigue and poor physical function.
Dr. David Yang, the executive director of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, stated that older adults who abandon the keys are more likely than those who keep the wheel. “It’s important to find ways to keep older drivers in good health so that they can extend their mobility.
Studies show that stretching and daily exercise can be beneficial for older drivers. They are able to move more freely and have better control over their bodies. Drivers with physical strength can also be more alert to road hazards and perform important driving functions like:
Look to the rear and side.
Adjusting safety belts
Long periods of sitting for prolonged periods
Jake Nelson, AAA director for traffic safety advocacy research and AAA director of physical fitness, said that “some decline in physical fit is inevitable as we age.” Research shows that exercising doesn’t need to be difficult to achieve positive results. It is possible to spread the time that you spend exercising over the course of the day or week. It is possible to only spend a few minutes each day. You can drive safely longer by taking simple steps to stay active.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults who are physically capable do between 2.5 and 5 hours of moderate-intensity activity each week and 75 minutes to 2.5 hours high-intensity activities. Balance training should be included as well as aerobic or muscle-strengthening activities. Before starting a new exercise program, older adults should consult their doctor. Talking to a healthcare provider can help them combat fatigue. Older adults can stay awake and alert by getting seven hours sleep each night.
AAA suggests a series stretching exercises to increase flexibility in the neck, shoulders, trunk, and back. AAA is a leader in senior driver safety and offers many programs and resources that can help seniors improve their driving skills and avoid accidents. For more information on AAA resources for older drivers, such as RoadWise online/classroom courses or other programs that help seniors better “fit” with their vehicles, visit www.SeniorDriving.AAA.com.
LongROAD: The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recognized that the changing lifestyles, medical advances, and new technologies will all have an impact on the driving experience of the baby boomer generation. It launched a multiyear, ground-breaking research program to better understand and address the safety and mobility requirements of older drivers in the United States. AAA LongROAD (Longitudinal research on Aging Drivers), is the largest and most complete database on senior drivers. It includes 2,990 participants, which has been followed for five years. It will allow for in-depth research on senior driving and mobility, which will help to better understand the risks and devise effective countermeasures.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety was established in 1947 by AAA. It is a non-profit, publicly-funded, 501(c),(3) charitable research and education organization. The AAA Foundation is dedicated to preventing traffic deaths and injuries. It conducts research into the causes of crashes and educates the public about how to reduce them. These materials are developed for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.
AAA: AAA offers financial, travel and automotive services to more than 59,000,000 members through its federation, which includes 34 motor clubs and close to 1,100 branch offices throughout North America. AAA, a not-for profit, fully tax-paying AAA, has been an advocate for safe mobility since 1902. The AAA Mobile app allows drivers to request roadside assistance, find nearby gas prices, get discounts, book hotels, and map their route. To join, visit AAA.com.
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