Saturday, 29 January 2011

Pensioners See Too Much



There is an increasing number of older drivers on the roads.  My generation will be the first to have owned a car for their entire adult lives and we are even less likely to give up driving than our parents' generation, because we view our cars as an essential part of our independence.

When younger I always said when I stopped enjoying driving I'd stop driving. Some years ago now I stopped enjoying driving, although when I returned to live in Scotland I found some enjoyment return, possibly because there was much less traffic and I didn't spend so much time in traffic jams.

To put it simply I need my car.  There is no suitable public transport and to travel by taxi would be out of the question.

However, in recent years I haven't had the need to drive so much and I slowly realised I wasn't as comfortable driving at night as I once was.  Nothing serious I was assured, it's because few older people have the need to drive regularly in the dark so don't do it. It's all down to 'practice makes perfect' my sympathetic optician said.

Last year one friend suddenly stated she was giving up her car. We were shocked because she was the one who always offered lifts to others when we had our regular outings. One of her regular passengers tentatively asked if it was the cost of maintaining a car that had brought about this decision. No, it was because she nearly hit a 4 x 4 in Morrison's car park.  Discussion followed about how driving has changed in 40 years; the power of modern cars and being older does tend to make you feel slightly less able.  We all agreed that it must be something to do with eyesight, even though all of us could read a numberplate at the required distance.

Last night I sent a copy of this to my friend (I know her car is still in her garage and she uses it occasionally).  She'll be surprised it's nothing to do with failing eyesight whatsoever, but that we see too much. We're too aware of background rather than reduced vision.  It makes sense.

I wonder when the perceptual learning classes will begin in the UK?  Must drop an email to Professor Duje Tadin at the University of Rochester and ask him to send a copy of his study to Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's go-ahead Health Secretary.

A word of warning to those who are irritated by older drivers - we see you.  It's now a proven scientific fact.

19 comments:

RMcGeddon said...

Interesting article SR.
Did you read about the bin lorry drivers in Fife ?
They've had to switch to fortnightly rubbish collections in rural areas because the drivers are getting damaged with the vibrations on the bumpy roads.
My Gran always said to watch out for the fly fifers. She blamed them for the Tay rail bridge falling down. Claimed they were too weak to put in the proper rivets at their end..

http://www.thecourier.co.uk/News/Fife/article/10197/bad-vibrations-shake-up-fife-s-rural-bin-collections.html

hector said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
subrosa said...

No I didn't read that RM but I have now. Honestly, do they think we all came up the Tay in a trawler? These lorries cost hundreds of thousands and I doubt if the manufacturers would be happy with the statement that the suspension is so poor.

Thanks for the link.

subrosa said...

Because we see too much hector? Well it certainly would be a good defence right enough.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Confidence is the name of the game; and all the better for it provided it's not practised by tricksters, such as those in the financial and political arenas.

Confidence is a conformation of our individuality and sanity.

Demetrius said...

Why do bikers so often place themselves in the "blind spot" when behind a car?

Apogee said...

Demetrius,because they can see past you better for passing, and you SHOULD be conciously looking looking there because that is where cops tend to hide.

Brian said...

I hope you find this paper from 1971 on a related topic "Overloading The Competent Reader" interesting. When I worked for the Highways Agency, great care was taken to achieve a balance between keeping drivers visually stimulated and not distracting them unnecessarily. That combined with fewer,safer junctions make motorways and trunk roads the safest roads.

Joe Public said...

Lights blue touch-paper & retires immediately:-

"A word of warning to those who are irritated by older drivers - we see you."

Perhaps Rosie, you should have added "....but some are just too slow to react".

hector said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
subrosa said...

I think you're right Crinkly. Once you loose confidence in your ability to drive there's no point in doing it.

subrosa said...

To torment you Demetrius because they know you can't see them. :)

subrosa said...

Jings Apogee, I have to turn right round to see the blind spot. I'd only have half my attention on where I'm going if I did that continually.

subrosa said...

I did find it interesting Brian and I've put a link to it for others.

http://bit.ly/ezPTCh

subrosa said...

Oh no Joe, they're not slow. They just can't decide what the reply is these days - one finger or two. :)

Apogee said...

Hi SR,mirrors are fitted so you can see into that blind spot,they are not just for combing your hair or, dare I say it, doing ones make up.;-)

subrosa said...

Apogee, my driver's wing mirror is perfect for checking if I've remembered to apply my eyebrows and to ensure I've no makeup tidemark. It's also good for seeing what's on that side of the car.

I won't mention which use has priority but I do know which one is more useful. ;)

junican said...

Some twenty five years ago, a friend of mine (who is a very good driver indeed)were discussing the problem of a person dashing in front of your car.

I have always remembered his comment:

"There is no point in looking at anything which is too close to you for you to stop. You should be concentrating on what you need to see. Let your peripheral vision take care of sidewalks and such." (What he meant by that was 'let your peripheral vision warn you when there actually is something that needs looking at!)

I have always followed this advice ever since.

subrosa said...

Good tip junican. I possibly drive in that manner because many years ago I had a few lessons from an Advanced Driver who also had that opinion.

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