Car Accidents With Senior Drivers: Safety Tips and Next Steps

senior driver accidents are a growing concern

The number of licensed drivers over the age of 70 continues to rise in Georgia, mirroring a national trend. The increase raises concerns about traffic safety and the likelihood of a growing number of senior driver accidents on our state’s roads.

By understanding the risks and causes of these types of accidents we can ensure that everyone is kept safe. And if you’ve been involved in a senior driver accident, contact a Lawrenceville, Georgia car crash attorney right away.

Understanding the Risks

There has been a steady increase in the number of senior drivers in the U.S. over the past few decades. However, senior drivers are statistically more likely to be involved and killed in car accidents than younger drivers, according to CDC data.

This can be attributed to various factors, including:

Age-Related Decline in Physical Abilities:

  • Vision impairments, including cataracts and macular degeneration, affect one in three adults aged 65 and over, potentially hindering spatial awareness and reaction time behind the wheel.
  • Hearing loss, which affects nearly 25% of seniors, can impede awareness of critical auditory cues on the road, such as sirens or horns.
  • Reduced mobility and flexibility are common with age, making tasks like turning, checking blind spots, and maneuvering pedals more challenging.

Cognitive Changes and Driving Ability:

  • Dementia, affecting nearly 10% of adults aged 65 and over, can significantly impact judgment, decision-making, and spatial awareness, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, disrupts memory, communication, and reasoning, further jeopardizing safe driving practices.
  • Even mild cognitive decline can affect a driver’s ability to multitask, process information quickly, and respond to unexpected situations on the road.

Medication Side Effects and Driving Safety:

  • Many medications prescribed for common conditions in seniors can cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, or impaired coordination, impacting driving skills.
  • Over-the-counter medications, including certain pain relievers and allergy medications, can also produce side effects that affect alertness and driving judgment.

Safety Tips for Senior Drivers

Georgia prioritizes the safety of all drivers, and several resources are available to help senior drivers stay safe on the road. Here are some practical tips:

Physical Wellness and Driving Ability:

  • Schedule regular eye examinations: Ensure your vision is optimal for driving by getting regular checkups and addressing any issues promptly. Consider anti-glare glasses for daytime driving and specialized lenses for night vision.
  • Maintain physical fitness: Regular exercise improves flexibility, reflexes, and overall well-being, contributing to safer driving. Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or gentle yoga can be beneficial.
  • Review medications with your doctor: Discuss potential side effects of medications and whether they could impact driving ability. Work with your doctor to find alternative medications or adjust dosages if necessary.
  • Practice safe stretching and flexibility exercises: Maintain range of motion in your neck, shoulders, and back to enhance your ability to turn and check blind spots comfortably while driving.

senior drivers are at risk to cause accidents due to medical conditions

Driving Habits and Vehicle Adjustments:

  • Plan your trips: Choose familiar routes to avoid navigating unfamiliar traffic patterns. Avoid rush hour traffic and consider limiting night driving when visibility is reduced.
  • Adapt your speed: Drive at a comfortable speed below the posted limit, allowing for ample time to react to changing situations. Remember, reaction time slows down with age.
  • Minimize distractions: Avoid cell phone use, eating, or adjusting the radio while driving. Keep your focus entirely on the road and traffic conditions.
  • Adjust vehicle settings: Ensure proper seat position, mirror adjustments, and headrest placement for optimal visibility and comfort. Consider adding steering wheel covers or knobs for easier grip.
  • Invest in vehicle safety features: Blind spot monitoring systems, lane departure warnings, and rearview cameras can provide valuable assistance and enhance situational awareness.

Proactive Measures and Support Systems:

  • Take a driver refresher course: Programs like AAA’s Senior Defensive Driver Course can help update driving skills, address knowledge gaps, and boost confidence behind the wheel.
  • Consider alternative transportation: Public transportation, ride-sharing services, or assistance from family and friends can offer viable options for some trips, especially during challenging weather conditions.
  • Communicate openly with family and friends: Discuss any concerns about driving with loved ones and involve them in making informed decisions about transportation needs.
  • Utilize available resources: Organizations like AARP and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offer valuable resources and programs for senior drivers and their families.

Next Steps After a Senior Driver Accident

In the event of a senior driver accident, it’s crucial to take the following steps:

  • Seek immediate medical attention: Check for injuries and prioritize everyone’s well-being.
  • Contact the police: Georgia Code 40-6-273 obliges the driver involved in an accident which resulted in injury, death or property damages exceeding $500 to report the incident to the police.
  • Gather evidence: Collect witness information, photos of the scene, and any other relevant documentation.
  • Inform your insurance company: Notify your insurance provider as soon as possible.
  • Seek legal counsel: Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate the legal complexities of the situation and protect your rights.

Contact a Lawrenceville Personal Injury Attorney Right Away

Senior driver accidents are a pressing concern in Georgia. By understanding the risks, implementing safety tips, and seeking legal guidance from the Weinstein Law Firm, both senior drivers and other road users can navigate the legal landscape with confidence and work towards a safer driving environment for all.

Contact us at 770-HELP-NOW to schedule a consultation with an experienced Lawrenceville, Georgia car crash lawyer!

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