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Driving Senior Safety

A recent study published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A found that balance issues, weak lower limbs and poor neck flexibility are some of the complications that lead to an elevated risk of less-safe driving, especially among seniors.

Tests of physical abilities, including those for strength and balance, could demonstrate how older adults will function on the road and how safe of drivers they are.

Researchers tested 270 men and women between the ages of 70 and 88 on their flexibility, strength, reaction times, balance and sensory perception. Then, each individual's driving was judged for safety. During the driving test, around 17 percent of the participants made serious errors. In addition, the drivers who tested unsafe showed a lessened ability to move their necks, had poor perception of vibration, slow reaction times and less strength in their legs and feet.

"The study addresses an issue that is a big concern," Dr. Sharon Brangman, chief of geriatrics at Upstate Medical University, said in Reuters. "We have so many (older) patients who are driving, and we don't have objective ways to determine who should stay on the road."

Senior care services can assist older adults who can no longer drive but providing services like grocery shopping and transportation.

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