For the first time in UK history, there are more than four million over-70’s licensed drivers which are why there has been a steady increase in the number of road traffic accidents claims filed against elderly drivers. In fact, there have been many stories that have made the news, about elderly drivers driving the wrong way on intersections and highways in the past few years. For example, in 2013 84- year old female driver died after driving the wrong way on the AL in Northumberland.
Just how dangerous are elderly drivers?
Age Alters Driving Capabilities
Even in healthy seniors, ageing causes deterioration in the ability to process information and events through sight, hearing and balance. This greatly effects one’s ability to make quick and effective decisions while on the road. Sensory, cognitive and motor skills eventually declines in elderly drivers, and it can prevent them from driving safely on the road.
Tips for Elderly Drivers
If you are an elderly driver, no doubt you fear being hurt or hurting someone else in an automobile accident. To avoid having road traffic accident claims filed against you, it’s important for you to understand and pay attention to the warning signs that age could be interfering with your driving abilities.
Age affects everyone differently. As we age, physical conditions can affect our behavior on the road and how we handle a vehicle. Consider the following.
– Do you have pain or stiffness in your neck and shoulder area? This could prevent you from looking over your shoulder when switching lanes or entering multi-lane intersections. If you have trouble quickly looking over your shoulder, this could prevent you from spotting other cars and pedestrians that may be in the way.
– Arthritis in your legs or painful knees could prevent you from being able to move your feet quickly over the gas and brake pedals. When driving, there will be numerous occasions for which you will have to slam on your brake quickly. Failure to do so could cause you to hit another vehicle from behind or injure a pedestrian.
– Lack of arm mobility or strength could affect the way you steer.
– Impaired vision can prevent one from spotting hazards, noticing street signs and viewing turn signals. Failure to be able to spot these things can cause a collision.
– Hearing difficulties could make it hard to hear police and ambulance sirens. This could also prevent you from hearing other driver’s honking, warning you that they are there in an intersection you could be trying to enter.
– Do you take medication? Some medications can cause drowsiness or make a person prone to falling asleep. These medications should never be taken before driving. It is important to talk with your physician about the effects medication can have on your driving abilities.