One of the hardest activities for older people to give up is driving a car. Some even report feelings similar to the classic stages of grief. Denial that they shouldn’t drive. Bargaining with grown children who urge them to stop. Anger when the grown children persist. And, eventually for most, acceptance that putting away the keys is a good idea. A recent study might give these grown children some ammunition.
The National Institutes of Health recently reported on Australian researchers who studied the driving habits of 266 healthy drivers, ages 70 to 88. The drivers aged 85 to 89 averaged four critical mistakes (such as failing to check a blind spot) in a 12-mile road test; drivers 70 to 74 averaged less than one.
The study, first reported online in the journal Neuropsychology, is likely to be controversial, NIH acknowledged.