A 2018 survey found that the 45 million licensed drivers who are 65 years of age or older in the United States represent approximately one of every five drivers on the road. While this might seem like an insignificant statistic, older drivers are at an elevated risk of experiencing serious injury or death when they are involved in crashes. This fact remains true regardless of which party ends up causing the crash. By following some of our safety advice for elderly drivers, you could be saving the life of someone you love.
Have a Conversation With Seniors About His or Her Driving
If your loved one was recently in an auto accident or had a close call, it is a good time to discuss that individual’s driving. Even if your loved one has not been in such a situation, it is a better idea to have a conversation about things now instead of later. These conversations are rarely easy to have, though. Many people associate the privilege of driving with other personal freedoms. Loved ones often view criticism of their ability to drive as an encroaching step on their independence. One of the best ways to avoid making conversations feel confrontational is to use “I” statements rather than “you” statements.
Determine Potential Problems With the Elderly Driver’s Vehicle Operation
Some of the most common difficulties that elderly drivers experience include new aches and pains as well as delayed reaction time and impaired vision. Each of these factors can negatively impact a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle defensively. While it is impossible to avoid all of the problems associated with driving, there are fortunately some common strategies that you can utilize to help elderly drivers navigate some of the most common problems:
- If a loved one has begun to experience vision difficulty, it might be a good idea to suggest that the individual drives only during daylight hours and in clear weather conditions.
- If a loved one has begun to experience increased anxiety in traffic, you should suggest that the individual changes the times that they run errands to avoid rush hour.
- If a loved one is experiencing difficulty remembering how to get to places that they frequently visit, you should suggest that the individual begins to utilize a navigational device or ride with a buddy.
- If a loved one has difficulty getting into and out of a vehicle, you should consider purchasing various vehicle parts like swivel or swing-out parts that make it easier to get into and out of the vehicle.
- If a loved one finds that it is difficult to turn or move their head to examine the traffic behind them, you should consider installing either a backup mirror or wider mirrors
Plan Ways to Remain Active Without a Vehicle
If it is a good idea for your loved one to stop driving, you can still plan for that individual to remain active. Without access to transportation, understand that many older individuals begin to experience negative mental health symptoms like depression and social isolation. Some of the potential alternative transportation options that can be utilized can include:
- If the elderly individual lives close to family or friends, you should create a schedule to help your loved one reach the destinations that they routinely visit. If you do not live close enough to do this, you might consider calling on neighbors for assistance.
- Besides public buses, some locations like churches and malls provide their own transportation options.
- Rideshare services are becoming increasingly more common due to their convenience. Through these apps, users can schedule ride services.
Follow Safe Driving Strategies
Elderly drivers should follow some important safety strategies to reduce the risk of ending up in an accident. Some of these driving techniques include:
- Make sure that your seat belt is properly buckled before driving your vehicle. Remember if your seatbelt is uncomfortable, you should adjust either the shoulder mount or shoulder pad.
- Distractions such as your smartphone or GPS device can take your focus off the road. Instead of ending up in an accident due to distracted driving, leave your cell phone or other devices in a place where they cannot bother you while you are driving.
- Maintain adequate space between your vehicle and other cars on the road.
- Drive during daylight hours when possible. Remember, elderly people can experience difficulty seeing at night. The glare of oncoming headlights can make it even more difficult to see.
- Rain, snow, fog, and other hazardous conditions can be dangerous for older drivers. Wait for the weather conditions to improve before setting out on the road.
- Try to avoid busy highways with ramps because these can prove dangerous. Merging into traffic can be difficult for any driver, let alone those with limited mobility to crane their neck, or limited visibility to monitor oncoming traffic.
- Remember your medications. Some medications can leave motorists tired or less alert to surrounding conditions than they should be. While some prescriptions warn motorists of the risks associated with driving under the influence, not all of them do. Review your medications with your primary care provider or a pharmacist to determine if any medications that you are taking could result in unsafe driving.
Contact our Law Office Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
It is important to understand that elderly drivers who are involved in car crashes are at an elevated risk of being seriously injured or killed. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, reach out to an experienced Long Island personal injury lawyer who can help you fight for the results you deserve. Contact Cohen and Jaffe LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900