A Low-Cost Computer-Training Program can Help Seniors Drive Less Hazardous

Recent proof-of-concept research discovered that a low-cost computer training program can help older persons drive less dangerously. The findings could lead to more training being made available, according to the researchers. Adults who want to operate computers for their own personal use can enroll in a variety of personal computer training certificate programs.

However, some working professionals with little or no computer knowledge, particularly long-term employees who are increasingly required to use new technology in their fields, may benefit from such a certificate program. There are free workshops on social media, cloud storage, image editing, and mobile devices for more advanced users to keep up with the latest gear and software.

“On-road training and simulator training programs have been successful at reducing car accidents involving older drivers with benefits lasting for years after the training,” says Jing Yuan, first author of the study and a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University. “Many older folks, on the other hand, are unlikely to have access to these programs or technologies.”

Defensive driving is the hallmark of good drivers. They look for behavioral signals that may assist them to anticipate how other drivers will act or react. Many accidents occur on the roads as a result of people driving too quickly under dangerous conditions.

“We developed a training program, called Drive Aware, that would be accessible to anyone who has a computer,” says Jing Feng, corresponding author of the study and a professor of psychology at NC State.

“Drive Aware is a cognitive training program for older persons that helps them spot traffic risks more effectively. The purpose of our recent study was to see how much Drive Aware changes trainees’ driving behaviors once they get behind the wheel.”

Driving at night is substantially more difficult and dangerous than driving during the day, owing to the significantly reduced visibility. It is far more difficult to see and be seen by other drivers in the dark. As the winter months approach and the days become shorter, you’ll have to compensate for less visibility and added risks.

The researchers recruited 27 persons aged 65 and up to test Drive Aware. In a driving simulator, all of the study participants underwent a baseline driving exam. The “active training” group was made up of nine of the study participants. A week apart, the active training group had two interactive Drive Aware training sessions.

Example of computer training program

A group of nine additional study participants was assigned to “passive training.” This group watched videos of others receiving the Drive Aware instruction. This happened twice, with each session lasting roughly a week. The control group, which consisted of the remaining nine study participants, received no training. After that, all 27 study participants performed a second driving exam in the simulator.

Maintaining a moderate pace and making proper use of headlights are essential for driving safely at night. Your high-beam headlights will increase visibility on rural roads and open highways. Driving is usually more dangerous when it’s raining. Drivers will face reduced visibility and slick roads whether going in mild rain or a severe downpour. Reduce your speed to compensate for poor visibility and ensure sure your headlights, taillights, and windshield are all clean.

Water that is more than a few inches deep on the road is extremely dangerous and should be avoided. Six inches of water can cause a car to lose control, while 12 inches will float most automobiles, and two feet will float pick-up trucks and SUVs. A floating vehicle could be swept off the road and into deeper water. If this occurs, the vehicle may roll over and fill up before you can react.

The study participants in the active training group experienced 25% fewer “unsafe incidents” following the training, according to the researchers. Accidents with other vehicles, pedestrians, and running off the road were among the unsafe situations. The number of dangerous incidents among study participants in the passive training and control groups did not vary statistically significantly.

“In short, we found that older adults were less likely to have an accident in the driving simulator after receiving the Drive Aware training,” Yuan says.

“This testing was done with a fairly modest number of study participants,” Feng says. “If we can secure the funding, we’d like to scale up our testing to more clearly establish how effective this training is at reducing accidents among older drivers.”

“If the findings are as promising as they appear to be, we’ll search for ways to disseminate the training program as widely as feasible. Many people cannot afford one-on-one on-the-road training or high-tech driving simulator training. However, we believe that many people would be able to use Drive Aware, and that it has the potential to save many lives.”