For all individuals, driving offers a freedom to do what you want, when you want. For seniors and teens, though, driving also means being at a substantial risk of getting into an accident. Sadly, both teenagers and individuals over 65 share considerably higher risks of getting into an accident. Teenage accidents are typically attributable to lack of experience and often distracted driving. For seniors, though, the causes can come from many different places.
Why Are Seniors More Likely To Be Involved In Accidents?
The National Institute on Aging has identified several factors that lead to higher accident rates among seniors. First, stiff joints and muscles can make driving more difficult and can lead to danger when they impact the driver’s ability to turn their head, make abrupt turns, or brake quickly. Second, many seniors have trouble seeing, leading to obvious issues while driving a car. Third, many seniors have trouble hearing, which can lead to a lack of awareness on the road. Fourth, seniors have slower reaction times and reflexes which means that even if your senses are working perfectly, you may not be able to react in time to avoid an accident. Finally, many medications can affect driving and make the driver either drowsy or not alert enough to drive.
What Can Seniors Do To Stay Safe?
Thankfully, preparation and careful driving can also offset many of things that put seniors at risk. First, always monitor your health. Your eyesight and hearing should be frequently checked so that you can be sure to have the appropriate glasses and hearing aids. If stiff joints seem to affect your driving, you should also meet with a doctor to see how they suggest to best combat the problem. By monitoring your health you can help yourself stay safe by being as aware as possible of your surroundings and being able to take the appropriate reactions. Second, be sure to always be aware of the fact that your reaction times are slowed. Leaving more space between you and other cars, braking early, avoiding high-speed and high-traffic areas, and taking defensive driving courses can all help you stay safe despite slowed reaction times. Fourth, be sure to carefully read all warnings on your medication and talk to your doctor to be sure that no medication you’re taking is going to affect your driving. Fifth, and probably the most difficult, is knowing when it’s no longer safe to keep driving.
How Will I Know When I Should No Longer Drive?
AARP has compiled a list of factors that indicate when a person should limit or stop driving:
- Having frequent “close calls”
- Finding dents and scrapes on the car
- Getting lost
- Having trouble seeing or following traffic signals, road signs, and markings
- Responding slowly, having trouble switching between pedals, or confusing the pedals
- Misjudging gaps in traffic
- Experiencing road rage or causing other drivers to honk
- Becoming easily distracted
- Having a hard time turning head to back up or change lanes
- Receiving multiple traffic tickets
As a senior driver or the loved on of a senior driver, if you begin to notice any of these factors you may need to consider if it’s safe to keep driving. Many seniors keep driving even when they know they shouldn’t because they fear that they won’t have any way to get around. Thankfully for seniors, though, there are many ways to get around besides having your own vehicle. Ride-sharing services like Uber or taxis offer a way to get around without too much expense. Also, many civic and religious groups offer free rides for seniors in need.
If you or a loved one is unfortunately involved in an accident, make sure that you get the help you deserve by contacting an experienced accident attorney like the ones at Meldon Law. The attorneys at Meldon Law have been serving the Gainesville and Ocala area for decades to give their clients that help they need. Contact us today at 800-373-8000 or MeldonLaw.com.
Jeffrey Meldon has written a book “7 Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident.” Based on Jeffrey’s over 40 years of experience serving the Gainesville and Ocala area, this consumer guide will help you get a fair shake from the insurance companies! You can download it for free at MeldonLaw.com or call us at 800-373-8000 and we will send you a free copy!
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