In 2003 an 85-year-old man Santa Monica, California man pressed his foot on the gas pedal of his 1992 Buick, mistaking it for the brake, and drove three blocks along a crowded Farmerâ€™s Market, running into people and business stands along there way before a body crashed into his windshield and stopped the car. Nine people, including a 3-year-old girl were killed that day, and 54 injured, many of them critically. The incident caused uproar as to whether there should be more stringent restrictions on driving privileges for elderly people. What if this man had been taking memory training or exercising his brain in an effort to improve his memory.
Simply because we age doesnâ€™t mean we have to stop driving, but we do have to become aware of any signs that it may become a safety issue â€“ for you or others around you. By reducing risk factors and incorporating safe driving practices, many of us can continue driving safely long into our senior years. Taking memory training has been shown to be a real help as well.
Seniors, as a group, are more likely than younger people to be at fault in car crashes and to suffer injuries or death as a result. They can cut their risk of causing accidents in half with the right kind of brain-training program, according to scientific studies. So believe it or not by improving your memory you can be a better driver!
More than 900 active drivers over the age of 73 were studied at several universities. They were divided into four groups: three groups given 10 sessions of different kinds of brain training and a control group.
- The first group used a computer program designed to increase their reaction times.
- The second learned strategies to improve reasoning and problem solving.
- The third got classroom training designed to improve memory.
- The control group had no training at all.
Each of the participantsâ€™ driving records was reviewed over the next six years, which covered more than 25 million miles. The finds were that the drivers who received the computer or problem-solving training caused 50% fewer accidents compared to the control group. But those who went through memory training, however, showed no significant change.
“It shows that the right kind of cognitive training can actually improve the driving abilities of older people, who can then benefit from greater independence and a better quality of life,” says the study’s lead author, Karlene Ball, professor of psychology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. The research was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Jamie Wilson, M.D. of SharpBrains, a market research and think tank tracking brain fitness (not involved in the study) says, “The brain at any age is more flexible than people realize. If older drivers can train their brains to be more alert and responsive, they can reduce their risk of accidents.”
Over the next several years, aging baby boomers will bring about big changes. The number of drivers age 85 and over in 2030 will be four times greater than today. Based on current fatality rates per mile, the numbers of elderly traffic fatalities will more than triple by the year 2030. With memory training this growing demographic will have a safer road safety record, so improve your memory and drive safe!
My name is Ron White. I am a two-time USA Memory Champion , memory training expert, and memory keynote speaker. As a memory expert I definitely see the advantages to memory training for adults in order to be safer drivers and I know first-hand of the advantages.
Senior Drivers.org â€“ Transition from Driving: http://www.seniordrivers.org/notdriving/notdriving.cfm?button=guk
AARP – Older Drivers Improve Safety With Brain Training, Study finds training cuts accident risk in half: http://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-12-2010/older_drivers_improve_safety_with_brain_training.html