Elderly drivers, those over the age of 65, will make up about 20% of motorists by 2025. This statistic has safety advocates scrambling to develop programs and other tactics to help ensure the safety of older drivers and those around them.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2008 older individuals accounted for 8% of all traffic crash injuries and 15% of all traffic fatalities. Older drivers statistically have fatal crashes during the day (80%), on weekdays (72%) and their crashes involve other vehicles (69%).
Older drivers in fatal crashes rarely are found with alcohol in their system. And seat belt use among drivers 65+ is 14% higher than those in fatal crashes ages 18 to 64.
Our Fort Myers car accident lawyers understand the dangers elderly drivers face and remind you to help older relatives monitor their driving skills and make good decisions about their driving abilities.
Traffic safety should be important to all drivers, however older drivers need to pay attention to their body’s physical changes, which could affect their driving ability. Here are some issues that all drivers should be aware but particularly elderly drivers.
Vision: Most folks know, if you are over age 40, your eyesight changes. Your retina has decrease sensitivity to light, your eye’s lenses don’t focus quickly, and your peripheral vision narrows. Interestingly, the amount of light your eyes need to drive doubles about every 13 years. So a person that is 45 years old needs quadruple the light that a 19 year old needs and if you are 60 you need 10 times as much. Good vision is essential to safe driving since about 90% of what we do while driving is based on what we see.
Get eye exams every two years if you are under 60 years old and every year if you are over 60. If night vision and glare from headlights are a problem, try to not drive at night. As peripheral vision narrows, turn your head frequently to adjust. Keep glasses inside your car and all lights and mirrors clean. Adding a large rear view mirror will expand your range of visibility. Always keep your eyes on the road ahead of you to give yourself plenty of time to react to a sudden situation.
Though elderly adults’ minds may remain sharp, their reactions to changing events won’t be as crisp as when they were younger. As we age, it takes our brains longer to process information and we are easily distracted. When a sudden event occurs while driving we need to see it, decide what to do, then do it. For an elderly driver all that takes time, and sometimes it takes too long. Give yourself plenty of time to see and react to a situation, that’s good advice for any age driver.
Here are some helpful tips from Seniordriver.org :
-Allow plenty of room between you and other vehicles.
-Avoid left turns if possible. If you have to make a left pay attention to the cars coming toward you, watch for pedestrians and have enough space and time to safely cross approaching traffic before turning.
-Never have anything in the car that could be a distraction. Keep the radio off, don’t use a cell and if passengers are noisy tell them to be quiet.
-Review your route ahead of time, so you won’t have to make a last-minute decision about which turns to take.
-Use side roads when possible, high speed roadways can be frightening and confusing.
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