Despite what people may think about senior drivers, a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concludes that drivers age 70 and older are better drivers than their own parents or grandparents ever were. Safer cars, healthier seniors, and increasing awareness of traffic safety are among the most likely reasons today’s elderly drivers are better drivers. If they do get into an accident, older drivers are substantially more likely now to survive or to walk away with only minor injuries. It’s a growing trend that first emerged in the 1990s and indicates that the growing ranks of aging baby-boomer drivers are making the nation’s streets and highways safer rather than more dangerous.
For older drivers, the number of fatal accidents per licensed driver plummeted by 42 percent from 1997 to 2012. Surprisingly, the most marked decline was among drivers age 80 and older. Not only that, but fatal accident rates are continuing to drop as elderly drivers add up more miles. This is especially the case for drivers 75 and older, who increased their average annual driving mileage by more than 50 percent from 1995 to 2008. There was a similar decline in the involvement rate of older drivers’ in non-fatal injury crashes during the 1997-2012 period.
Older drivers can enhance driving safety even more by heeding these tips:
- Schedule an annual eye exam and review your prescribed medications with your physician
- Whenever possible, avoid night-driving and rush-hour driving
- Make sure your seat, mirrors, and steering wheel are adjusted for maximum driving safety
- Enroll for a refresher course in driving safety through the AARP
Despite these positive findings, most families with elderly drivers will need to have a serious talk at some point about the need to drive less or stop driving all together. No one likes losing his or her independence. It is important to reassure your elderly loved one that this happens to people of all ages.
Several warning signs may tell you when it’s time to have this difficult talk. Fading vision, reduced strength, slower reflexes, and impaired hearing can all negatively impact our ability to drive safely. Persistent neck and shoulder pain can make turning the head difficult, while pain in the legs can make it harder to operate gas and brake pedals properly. Annual medical check-ups are imperative for older drivers; doctors can often spot warning signs before a driving tragedy happens. It’s also imperative to make sure that seniors who quit driving remain socially active and personally productive.
If you’re injured in a traffic accident despite your best efforts at following these tips and driving safely, speak at once with an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney. If another driver’s negligent behavior is the direct cause of your injury, a good personal injury lawyer can help you win compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. Whether you’re 19 or 99, when you’re injured in a traffic crash, get help from an experienced personal injury attorney who will fight tirelessly for the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.