Traffic laws, such as maintaining an appropriate speed, wearing seat belts, and not operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol are more likely to be followed by elderly drivers compared to younger motorists. Furthermore, elderly drivers often avoid difficult driving conditions, like rush hour, driving at night, or driving in poor weather conditions.
According to statistics from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 2016 recorded 41.7 million licensed drivers over the age of 65. Breaking that down, out of the 221.7 million licensed drivers in the United States, almost one in five drivers are 65 years or older. While elderly motorists are considered to be safer drivers, they are at a much higher risk of car accident injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, an experienced lawyer could advise you on the best course of legal action.
Why Are Car Accident Injuries More Common for Elderly Drivers?
As our bodies continue to age, certain vulnerabilities start to become more prevalent and noticeable. The act of operating a motor vehicle requires quick reflexes, increased awareness of your surroundings, good vision and hearing, and the ability to make immediate decisions. As the aging process continues, several factors can contribute to an increased risk of car accident injuries:
- Arthritis is a common condition suffered by many people in their older age. The task of turning a wheel, shifting gears, or going between the gas and brake pedals can be a painful process.
- Eye diseases are also common for seniors, reducing peripheral vision and making blind spots more difficult to notice.
- Fatigue can be the result of certain medical conditions, increasing the likelihood of drowsy driving or falling asleep at the wheel.
- Cognitive issues can lead to an elderly driver feeling overwhelmed, resulting in poor decision-making, reaction time, and memory.
Additionally, the use of different medications can have an adverse effect on driving performance. Medication can be a positive and a negative in this scenario; positively, the prescribed medication can address the issue it is recommended for, although negatively it could have side effects or react differently when mixed with other prescribed remedies.
Tips to Safe Driving
Driving a vehicle can sometimes be a necessity in a person’s life, relying on others to take you around or using public transportation may not be available in certain situations. For elderly individuals that prefer or need to drive, there are some helpful tips that could make the driving process safer.
- Increase strength and flexibility with regular activity programs.
- Have conversations with your doctor about medicines and the possible side effects.
- Wear required glasses and frequently get your eyes examined.
- Use the safest route available, avoid areas that can cause an issue.
- Keep spacing in mind, the extra distance between yourself and others would provide more reaction time.
These guidelines are addressed to every driver on the road, regardless of age. Although elderly drivers are more at risk for car accident injuries, it does not mean that other motorists are not in harm’s way.
Contact a DuPage County Personal Injury Attorney
Accidents can always arise, regardless of how safe you drive; we cannot control aspects such as weather or the actions of other individuals. Despite using every safety precaution and abiding by the law, a motorist can still be at risk of a catastrophic injury or wrongful death . The Law Offices of David W. Clark, P.C. can assist in your compensation claim by addressing the issue and determining the best course of legal action. Our dedicted Bloomingdale auto accident lawyers will ensure your case is handled with care and dedication. For a free consultation, call our office today at 630-665-5678.