Car accidents can cause serious injuries, particularly for people over the age of 65. Did you know according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission, the number of drivers over the age of 65 increased by 29% in the last decade and make up 18% of all traffic fatalities? If you are an older driver, your age doesn’t necessarily mean your driving days are over; however, it’s important to plan and take the proper steps to ensure your safety and the safety of your passengers as some changes associated with aging may impact your driving. Ask yourself (or your loved ones) the following questions so you can decide if age has impacted your driving abilities.
Has your eyesight changed?
As we grow older, eyesight typically changes. Eye diseases and conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and low vision are common with aging and can impact your ability to read traffic signs and react to unexpected obstacles in the road. Remember, impaired vision can cause accidents, so it’s important to see an eye care medical professional for a regular screening to assess your vision.
Do you get disoriented or frustrated on your way to familiar destinations?
While we all have had moments where we are frustrated as a driver. If you are experiencing this feeling more often than you used to, it may be a sign that driving has become a challenge, rather than a routine task. If you are becoming disoriented while driving to familiar places, talk to your doctor about your experience and discuss how your health may be contributing to that anxiety and disorientation. Side effects from medication as well as medical conditions may also be contributing factors and can increase your risk of an automobile accident.
Has your physical health declined?
Our strength, coordination and flexibility decrease as we age. If you have trouble looking over your shoulder, have difficulty raising your arms, or have pain in your legs and knees, these symptoms may impact your ability to drive safely. Your reaction time may increase if you have trouble with range of motion in your arms and legs, making the risk of an accident increase. Discuss exercises and stretches that may help with your doctor. It’s important to stay active and healthy as we age not only for overall health and wellness but also to remain a safe driver.
Most older people take the appropriate steps to remain safe drivers – self-awareness is key. If you answered yes to any of the previous questions and feel that your driving ability is starting to diminish, it’s important to discuss options with your loved ones and your doctors.
If you have a loved one who is aging and are concerned about their safety, it’s important to have a thoughtful conversation with them to explore if they need to find alternate transportation methods. Does he or she get lost on routes that should be familiar? Do you notice dents or scratches on their car? Perhaps they have received a parking ticket or other traffic violation that is uncommon with their normal driving behavior. Discussing driving abilities with a loved one can be difficult, but it is an important conversation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission offers free resources for aging drivers and their families.
At Dale E. Anstine, we care about the safety of our community and encourage all drivers, regardless of age, to make sure they are being safe on the road. While we hope you never need us, if you or a loved one are injured, whether due to an accident or a personal injury caused by other means, get an experienced accident attorney on your side to protect your rights. Reach out to Dale E. Anstine today to learn more. With offices in York and Gettysburg, our team is proud to protect the injured across the Central Pennsylvania community. Consultations are always free, we’re available 24/7, and there’s no fee unless we win for you.