Just how safe are drivers who suffer with night vision problems? Let’s take a closer look.
Vision and Reaction Times
There are many variables involved. What complicates the topic of older drivers and safety is that, not too surprisingly, older drivers are not the same. Health and reflex time varies considerably between drivers within any age group. So there are some factors that can make older drivers more of a concern.
While it is true that older drivers usually have more experience behind the wheel, it is also true that older drivers are more likely to have vision issues and problems. Of particular concern with older drivers is the issue of night vision problems.
Of course, it is important to remember that we are dealing averages when it comes to older drivers in general. For example, many older drivers will realize that their reflexes or eyesight may not be what it once was. They will stay off the road in less than optimal conditions such as storms or nighttime driving.
Night Vision Problems-Cataracts, Macular Degeneration and Glare Issues
Night vision acuity can decrease with age, and that is only the beginning of potential concerns. Cataracts can serve to dim vision in general, and this is also true for macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the result of deposits building up on the macula. The macula is the center part of the eye and this buildup results in, to varying degrees, the loss of vision in the center of the eye. Older eyes may also become more sensitive to light glare, which can lead to difficulty driving at night.
Don’t Be Afraid to Discuss Nighttime Driving Issues with the Elderly
If you know an elderly driver, it is important to encourage him or her to take an annual driving test. Additionally, if you know an older driver and feel that their eyesight or reaction time has been compromised, be sure to discuss it with them. After all, their safety as well as the safety of others could be at risk.
Safe Driving Depends on Proper Reaction Time and Good Vision
Ultimately, competent and safe driving is in part about reaction time. Proper reaction time, of course, depends on being able to see and then react. If vision is impaired at any age, then reaction time is greatly diminished. The correlation between vision and reaction time is well established.
Safe Driving Benefits Everyone
Before you or someone you know gets behind the wheel, it is necessary to establish healthy vision and reaction times. Night vision problems are serious and should be treated accordingly. Don’t be shy about approaching someone, regardless of age, who may be having reaction time problems behind the wheel. Safe nighttime driving benefits all of society.