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Older drivers and traffic accident risks

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Blog, Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents involving older adults are a serious concern. However, there are steps that older drivers can take to stay safe on the road and reduce their risk of becoming involved in accidents.

For older drivers and their loved ones, it is important to be aware of common factors contributing to car accidents among older adults.

Eyesight, hearing and reaction time

Decreased vision and hearing is one of the main causes of car accidents among older adults. As drivers age, their eyesight and hearing may deteriorate, making it more challenging to see and hear clearly while driving. Older adults should have regular vision and hearing checks to ensure that they are fit to drive and may need to wear glasses or hearing aids while behind the wheel.

Reduced reaction time is another common issue among older drivers. Over time, reflexes may slow down, making it harder to respond quickly to unexpected situations on the road. Older adults should allow for extra space between their vehicle and others, avoid tailgating and anticipate potential hazards to give themselves more time to react appropriately. Regrettably, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that nearly 200,000 older adults had emergency treatment due to car crash injuries in 2020.

Mobility and medication

Physical limitations, such as arthritis or reduced mobility, can also impact older adults’ ability to drive safely. These conditions may affect a driver’s ability to turn the steering wheel, press the pedals or check blind spots. Medication side effects can also play a role in car accidents. Many medications can cause drowsiness, dizziness or other impairments that may affect driving ability. Older adults should be aware of the potential side effects of their medications and consult with their healthcare provider if they have concerns about driving while taking certain medications.

Safe driving practices are key to ensuring the well-being of older adults on the road. By taking proactive measures, older drivers can protect themselves and others while driving.