Why driving is risky for many older people

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2017 | car accidents

Having a driver’s license is a symbol of independence in most parts of the United States. As people get older, however, their driving abilities may wane little bit by little bit. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that physical and cognitive changes negatively affect the driving ability of some older people. If you are worried about an older loved one driving or have been hit by an older driver, here are a few top reasons why the person might not have belonged behind the wheel in the first place.

They do not recognize their weaknesses

Often, aging and declines do not happen all at once. To be sure, they do sometimes, for example, in the form of a massive heart attack or severe fall. Many times, though, eyesight gradually fades, and drivers lack the mobility they had even 10 years ago to check their blind spots. Their reaction times may not be what they were, leading to more frequent braking and close calls. However, it is easy for people in general to blame others and their driving.

A gradual fade in abilities means that drivers do not notice or realize just how impaired they have become. Thus, they are less likely going to take seriously pleas from family members that they refrain from driving. The same goes for suggestions such as leaving more of a distance between cars. In addition, older drivers recognizing their weaknesses would mean possibly having to give up their license and losing a good degree of independence. This lack of recognition comes with a cost. As the CDC reports, fatal crash involvement among older adults begins in force about age 70 and impacts those 85 and older the most.

Their physical and mental changes matter-a lot

Whether an older driver’s physical and mental condition happened in huge jumps or very gradually, the changes can be significant. For example, with reaction times, even half a second could be the difference between no car accident and a personal injury or death. Conditions such as dementia may cause older drivers to go down the wrong side of the road, and changes in eyesight may make driving in low-light situations quite dangerous.

They may be on medication

Some older drivers put themselves and others at extra risk because they are on medication that makes driving unsafe. Combine that medication with, for example, a glass of wine or a few cans of beer, and the risk increases even more.

The experience and aftereffects of being hit by an older driver can be devastating. An attorney can help uphold your rights and assist you in seeking compensation.