Aging is an undeniable part of life. The older we get, the more we struggle with aching bodies and a slowing ability to do things that once came easy. People over the age of 65 are often forced to make adjustments in their habits and lifestyle to accommodate these changes, and one of the hardest things for many of these people to deal with is the loss of independence. While driving offers the freedom to go anywhere we want, whenever we like, our ability to drive safely often declines with age. Automobile accidents and injuries are common among drivers over the age of 65 and other drivers on the road often face an increased risk as a result of these drivers. Understanding the facts and potential problems that can arise for senior drivers may help to prevent you and your loved ones from being involved in these types of accidents.
Problems Associated With Senior Drivers
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), people over the age of 65 are often safer and more conscientious drivers than other age groups. They have a greater tendency to obey traffic laws, wear their seatbelts, and are less apt to engage in driving under the influence of alcohol than other age groups. At the same time, they are more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents than other drivers, despite spending less time on the road and traveling fewer miles than other drivers. If you or someone you care about is over the age of 65, it is important to be aware of the potential problems associated with senior drivers. According to the AAA, driving affects seniors in the following ways:
- Weaker muscles and arthritis can impair a senior driver’s abilities to turn the steering wheel, shift gears, and press on the brake or accelerator;
- Arthritis and joint inflammation makes it harder to grip the wheel, shift gears, and use indicators;
- Seventy-five percent of people aged 65 and over report being on one or more medications that have the potential to impair their driving ability;
- Vision problems can affect older driver’s depth perception and the ability to drive at night;
- The early stages of diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia can impair an older driver’s judgment; and
- Problems with hearing can prevent older drivers from hearing warning from other drivers on the road, such as a horn or the sound of a vehicle accelerating or slamming on the brakes.
On average, research from the AAA indicates people today tend to outlive their ability to drive safely by approximately seven to 10 years.
Knowing When It Is Time To Stop Driving
As we get older, it is important to understand and acknowledge the changes we are going through, and the way these changes could potentially impact our abilities. While there is no specific age when we need to turn in our driver’s license, the National Association on Aging advises asking the following questions on the safety of drivers over 65 when making the decision to continue driving:
- Does the driver frequently get lost, even on road they are familiar with?
- Have they been involved in several accidents, regardless of how serious?
- Do they get easily distracted while driving and have problems staying in their lane?
- Do other drivers honk or act aggressively towards them?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it may be time to reconsider just how safe it is for you or a loved one to be on the road.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact our experienced Florida car accident attorneys today. At Hogan Frick, we can help you receive compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Reach out to us today for help.