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Defensive Driving Tips to Prevent Car Accidents Among Older Adults

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Older adult drivers face unique challenges behind the wheel. Due to age and certain types of health issues, they often experience symptoms and side effects which can make car accidents and injuries more likely to occur. If you or a loved one is over the age of 65, there are common issues you need to watch out for, in addition to defensive driving tactics you can use to help protect yourself and others on the road.

Older Adults and Car Accidents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that older adults are at a greater risk for car crashes and collisions, and injuries suffered in these accidents have a greater potential to be severe and life threatening. Each year, more than 235,000 people over the age of 65 suffer car accident injuries, which prove fatal for more than 6,000 people.

There are a variety of reasons as to why people over the age of 65 are more at risk for car accidents. Aside from the effects of medication used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, the process of aging impacts your driving abilities. These impacts include:

  • Diminished coordination in performing multiple driving functions;
  • Reduced strength, which causes difficulties in grasping the steering wheel and hitting brakes under certain conditions;
  • Stiffness in the neck which make it harder to look behind you or over your shoulder;
  • Slower response and reaction times in emergency situations;
  • Problems with vision, particularly at night or in rainy conditions.

Defensive Driving Tips for Older Adults

If you are an older adult or care for someone over the age of 65, it is important to communicate honestly with your doctor about any impairments which could put you at risk for car accidents and injuries. Depending on the situation, it may be better to limit driving to daytime and areas not subject to high speeds or heavy traffic conditions. Wherever you do operate a vehicle, you should follow these defensive driving tips:

  • Avoid distractions, such as cell phones, radios, and talking to other passengers. Keep your focus on the driving task at hand.
  • Give yourself plenty of room, and avoid following other cars too closely.
  • Keep a steady pace, and try to avoid sudden lane changes or stops. Make sure you are not driving over or under the speed limit.
  • Be extra cautious at intersections, and do not assume you have the right of way if there are no traffic lights or signals.

In the event you are involved in an accident, stay calm, notify law enforcement, and get medical treatment right away. For help in dealing with other drivers and insurance companies, contact Gregg Wexler at the Wexler Law Firm, P.A. We provide the caring, professional legal representation you need to protect your rights in these situations. Call or contact us online and request a consultation to see how our West Palm Beach car accident attorney can assist you.

Resource:

cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/older_adult_drivers/index.html

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