Older drivers are not a danger on the road !

The cliché says that the older we get, the more dangerously we drive. However, this is not necessarily so. That's according to scientific tests involving people over 70. Some of the drivers in their eighties, drove more safely than 60-year-olds.

When we get older, we usually drive more slowly. This is not a bad thing in terms of safety. Our reflexes tend to deteriorate with age, but driving slowly gives us more time to react, e.g. to brake for a pedestrian crossing the street, or at a traffic light that just turns red.

And there's more, explains Professor Tom Brijs of the University of Hasselt (Limburg): "Older motorists have more experience in traffic, and have a better assessment of traffic conditions. In general, they also drive more carefully."

However, it's not all about speed and reflexes. It's also about mental health and mental capacity, more precisely about how well we can combine two things.

The university did research together with the Virga Jess Hospital in Hasselt. Participants had to take place in a drive simulator. While driving, they had to make calculations in order to see how quickly they got distracted. This turns out to be an excellent tool to see whether someone would still make a good driver or not. "This test can predict to which extent a driver is a danger on the road or not. Sadly, it is hardly being used", says Tom Brijs.