Car Accidents Involving Senior Drivers

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, crash rates of drivers increase with drivers who are over 70 years of age. Senior drivers suffering an injury in a car crash may also be more likely to die from their injuries than younger drivers. Since accidents not only cause death but also financial loss, emotional breakdown and elder driver liability, a few states in the U.S. have made it mandatory for senior drivers to renew their license.

Senior driver car accidents can increase both the risks of automobile accidents and the possibility of pedestrians being run over. As we age, all our senses are affected, and even if a senior driver is not impacted by memory loss or age related illness, his reflexes will be much slower than before.

For many older adults, driving is a vital mode of maintaining an independent and active life. While many older drivers might refuse to give up driving altogether, it’s important that they accept a set of self imposed limitations on themselves with age. 

Safety measures like wearing the seat belts at all time, decreasing the speed limit, avoiding alcohol while driving, avoiding the office time traffic, and averting night time driving can be helpful for the senior drivers who want to continue driving safely well into their advanced age. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) maintains that drivers over 80 years of age have the highest accident rate surpassed only by teenagers, and that automobile accidents involving senior drivers occur 79% during the daytime and 73% on weekdays.  However, aging doesn’t imply complete loss of driving ability and with a few safety measures one can ensure continuing driving safely.

Safety Measures for Senior Drivers
It is important that a person stays physically fit as they get older, as it may enhance reflexes, flexibility and coordination. Having your eyes and ears checked every 6 months is helpful. In case you use a hearing aid make sure you wear it while driving. The headlights and windshield mirrors should be kept clean at all times to ensure better visibility. One should consult his physician regarding how his ailments and medications might affect his driving ability. For example, tinted eyeglasses which help reduce glare may come handy for a glaucoma patient. One should choose a car with power brakes, automatic transmission and power steering. The car should be kept in a good condition, and equipment to steer the car with ease and operate the foot pedals smoothly should be used.

Distractions like talking on the phone or trying to figure out the map while driving should be avoided at all costs. It’s wiser to pull over the car if you want to consult a map or talk over the phone. A senior driver should try to avoid nighttime driving and rush hour traffic, as more accidents are likely to occur in these times. Lastly, one should be aware of his own limitations and make sure that he drives within speed limit and allows sufficient braking distance.

To avoid getting lost it’s always recommended to plan your route when you are going to an unknown place. Since all statistics highlight certain risks of senior driving, it’s always recommended that you take up a safety course and brush up your driving skills.

We want our seniors to age gracefully and enjoy their Golden Years. Safety is of utmost importance so they may continue to enjoy themselves, without causing injury or death to others, their own loved ones, or even themselves.