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Mobility & Transport - Road Safety

Common crash types among older drivers

Various crash studies and surveys have shown that older drivers are over-represented in crashes at intersections, where typically the older driver turns against oncoming traffic with right of way on the main road. In general, intersections are complicated traffic situations which involve time pressure and the necessity of dividing attention between various subtasks. Negotiating an intersection represents a "testing of the limits" type of task, since it combines a host of age-sensitive functions while simultaneously limiting the usefulness of normal safe driving strategies. Therefore, it would seem plausible that the individual's increased risk is related to the combined deterioration of a number of relevant perceptual and cognitive functions rather than to the deterioration of single functions (see also functional limitations).

Older drivers are "under-represented" in crashes involving loss of control or collisions due to speeding, risky overtaking or driving under the influence of alcohol. This suggests that they are more aware of the risks that are associated with speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol, and are also more willing to avoid these kinds of risk-taking behaviour (see also behavioural adaptation).