Safety and Independence: Driving Tips for Seniors

As parents age, many adult children tend worry about their aging parent’s health and independence, particularly when it comes to driving. Voicing such concerns to older adults can sometimes create an uncomfortable situation as driving is viewed as an expression of freedom, independence, and competence. It can also be a vital part of these elderly adults’ economic livelihood as many are staying in the workforce longer than previous generations.

Despite such concerns, the U.S. Department of Transportation states fatalities in crashes involving older drivers is declining, citing a 13% drop from 2003 to 2012. Experts believe this is due to a combination of safer vehicles and healthier seniors. While this decrease should provide some comfort for those concerned about their loved one’s driving, intersections continue to pose challenges for older drivers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that adults 70 and older have the most trouble looking, but not seeing oncoming traffic or potential obstacles, most often when making left turns at intersections.

Here our Missouri personal injury lawyers share tips for keeping Missouri’s older drivers safe.

  • Have eyes checked once a year. Many errors made by older drivers stem from issues typically associated with aging, including perceptual abilities. In fact, highway safety research claims 2/3 of accidents involving older drivers are due to inadequate surveillance errors. Having your eyes checked regularly will help keep your vision prescription up-to-date. If visual aids such as glasses or corrective lens are required, they should be worn at all times while operating a vehicle.
  • Review medications with pharmacist. Compared other adult drivers, physical factors involving blackouts, drowsiness, or seizures, are common causes of accidents that involve older drivers. Understanding the side effects of medications is key to keeping yourself and others safe on the road. Discuss the possible side effects of prescription and over-the-counter drugs with your pharmacist to see if potentially dangerous side effects can be avoided. If not, find an alternative to driving by carpooling or requesting a ride from a friend or relative.
  • Drive in daylight and good weather. Research has indicated that part of the reduction of older driver accidents is because older drivers avoid driving at night or in bad weather. Plan outings during day light hours, and if possible, stay home during bad weather.
  • Plan your route. Before getting on the road, plan the route you will take. Choose side-streets and familiar areas with intersections that have left-turn lanes and traffic arrows.
  • Consider carpooling. Carpooling with another driver is a safe alternative to driving. Another option includes adding a second passenger who can help navigate the route and share the responsibility of checking for on-coming traffic.

For more information on driving safety, turn to Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to another’s negligence, we can pursue compensation on your behalf. Call (888) 287-1046 today!

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