The Senior Driver: Tips to Be Safer on the Road
Promoting positive aging begins with understanding a senior’s daily life. If a senior is still living independently, chances are that he or she drives a car on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the risk for getting into a car accident as a senior driver is higher than other age groups. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drivers aged 65 and up accounted for nearly 12.5% of the drivers who were involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. last year. If you are a caregiver or senior driver, it is important to recognize how aging affects motor skills and how seniors can drive more safely.
Should You Really Be Getting Behind the Wheel?
It’s always difficult to challenge a person about his or her driving abilities. Still, making observations about a senior’s habits on the road it is important in determining whether or not he or she should be operating a vehicle alone, or at all. If you are a senior driver, you should ask yourself these questions:
- Am I getting lost often and on routes that should be familiar?
- Have I been driving too slowly lately and without reason?
- Did I experience a near-miss or car accident recently?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, aging is having a negative effect on your ability to drive. If you answer yes to the last question, you may want to file a claim. Seniors should collect the information and documentation needed to explain the damages, hopefully leading to compensation for any injuries the accident may have caused. Part of being a responsible driver is taking care of these types of consequences, and aging is no excuse.
Prioritizing Road Safety at Any Age
Focusing on driving safely isn’t something that only the senior driver needs to do. Since driving is often seen as a symbol of independence, it’s important to continually assess your driving abilities. This way, people can make sure that they are fully capable of operating a vehicle, which will in turn lead to increased safety on the roads.
Following information developed by the NHTSA and the American Association of Retired Persons, every senior should address whether certain physical changes are affecting his or her driving skills. The areas every person should self-assess include vision, physical fitness, and reaction time. Watching for and noticing changes in these areas may mean it’s is time to give up the keys in the name of road safety.
Though car accidents are sometimes inevitable, there are a number of thoughtful, constructive ways for senior drivers to prioritize safety on the road.