The Neuroscience of Driving

Elderly drivers are the most dangerous on the road, we are often led to believe thanks to the news highlighting accidents involving the aged.

This is not necessarily the case, research is showing, but it’s partly true due to the decline of many cognitive functions. In a comprehensive article looking at the neuroscience of driving, Drake Bennett looks at what safeguards can be put in place to prevent unsuitable drivers from taking to the road and why elderly drivers aren’t inherently bad.

“[Studying driving] turns out to be an excellent way to look at the limits of our attentional abilities, especially as we get older and we start to show significant declines,” says David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah. “It’s one of the most direct ways to be able to look at how attention works, how multi-tasking works.” […]

There is such a thing as too much caution, of course: driving too slowly on a highway can be as dangerous as driving too fast. But according to the researchers who study them, the wisdom of the elderly driver consists in treating driving as something dangerous – which, no matter how sharp our skills, it is.

via Mind Hacks