Safe Driving for Seniors Behind the Wheel
People are living longer and healthier, which also means that there are older and older drivers on the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the number of drivers aged 70 and older is growing. The Federal Highway Administration reported that in 2018, there were about 29 million licensed drivers 70 or over. That number is only going to get bigger. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the 70 and over population will increase to 53 million by 2030.
There are many benefits to older drivers continuing to drive. Driving gives them mobility and independence. Studies show that seniors who give up driving are more likely to end up in nursing homes or suffer from depression. Although there are benefits to people continuing to drive into their senior years, it’s not without risk. American men and women are outliving their ability to drive. Their increased risk of being injured or killed in a car crash increases the older they get. It is important to know how to maintain safe driving for seniors behind the wheel.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), age-related declines in vision and cognitive ability can affect some seniors’ driving abilities. Even though in general, seniors engage in safer driving behaviors, age-related factors like a decline in vision are out of their control and can affect their ability to drive safely. There are ways to improve senior driver safety behind the wheel. But it’s also important to understand there will come a time when it is no longer safe to drive. Until then, though, take a look at our safety tips for seniors behind the wheel
Senior Driver Statistics
On the one hand, senior drivers are the most experienced drivers. They’ve spent more time on the road than most people, which means they’ve learned how to be safe behind the wheel. However, getting older also means impairments that affect safe driving for seniors.
Here are some facts and statistics that look at the good and the bad of elderly drivers behind the wheel.
- Older drivers are involved in fewer fatal collisions than in the past.
- Crash rates per mile driven are higher for younger drivers (age 16 to 19) than older drivers (70 and over).
- Elderly drivers tend to self-limit their driving. They avoid driving at night, in bad weather, long distances, on highways, or during rush hour.
- Older drivers are more likely to follow basic driving laws like wearing a seat belt or following speed limits.
- Senior drivers are more likely to practice safe driving habits. They are less likely to drive while intoxicated or to text and drive.
- According to the IIHS, in a survey of 2,500 drivers 65 and older found that drivers with reported impairments in memory, vision, mobility or medical conditions were more likely than other drivers to self-limit their driving.
- 80% of people in their 70s suffer from arthritis, which makes turning, flexing and twisting painful.
- At least 75% of drivers 65 and over report using one or more medications, which could impact their driving performance.
- Drivers 75 and over have higher crash death rates than middle-aged drivers (age 35-54)
- Older drivers’ fatality rates are 17% higher than drivers 25-64 years old.
- In 2009, more than 58% of fatal crashes involving drivers over 65 years old were caused by the older drivers themselves.
Before we review our safe driving tips for seniors, let’s take a look at an important fact. Should you become a victim in a car accident in Las Vegas, it’s vital to seek an experienced car accident lawyer. Anthem Injury Lawyers serves the Las Vegas area and vicinity, and we offer a free consultation. We can come to you, if needed. Call us today and talk to us about your case: (702) 857-6000.
11 Safe Driving Tips for Seniors
As we get older, certain changes to our bodies and mind can affect our driving safety standards. Most of these tips for older drivers behind the wheel apply to any driver. However, senior drivers especially should consider these tips to stay safe on the road.
- Wear a seat belt as a driver or passenger. It seems simple, but wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to save your life.
- Self-limit your driving. Don’t drive in poor conditions like bad weather or at night.
- Don’t drink and drive. Driving under the influence of alcohol reduces coordination, impairs judgment, and therefore increases the risk of a crash.
- Exercises. Following a regular activity program can increase your strength and flexibility. This will make it easier to turn a steering wheel or look over your shoulder.
- Check your hearing and vision. Since hearing and vision tend to decline with age, having regular vision and hearing tests can help catch any problems early. If you wear glasses, always wear them to drive.
- Avoid distractions. Try to limit distractions like playing loud music, or talking on the phone, or eating while driving.
- Plan. Figure out where you’re going and how exactly you’re going to get there before hitting the road.
- Watch where you park. If you can, park your car in an easily accessible spot. Try to avoid parking spaces where you have to back out.
- Drive rested. If you’re feeling groggy, don’t get behind the wheel. If you know you’re going out for a longer drive, try to leave in the morning when you’re more rested and alert.
- Drive defensively. Defensive driving is the practice of taking a passive approach to driving than an aggressive one. Brake early and leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you.
- Adapt your car. Make sure your car fits you properly and install any adaptive devices. For example, there are devices that can help you reach the pedals easier or boost your seat up to see over the steering wheel.
Driver Improvement Courses for Seniors
Organizations like AAA and AARP offer driver safety refresher courses for seniors. Taking one of these classes might be a good way to freshen up your driving skills and keep you safe behind the wheel. These courses are geared towards drivers 50 or 55 and over. Most of the courses cover the following topics:
- Refresh your knowledge of the rules of the road.
- Information on the effects of medications on driving.
- Techniques for handling left turns.
- Proper use of new technology found in today’s cars.
- Update you on any new driving laws and road rules.
- Teach defensive driving techniques.
- Safe driving strategies.
- How to reduce driver distractions.
- State specific rules and regulations.
Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers
No matter how long you’ve been driving, it’s important to remind yourself of safe driving habits. If you are a senior driver, brush up on driving safety. If you or your loved one has been in an auto accident in the Las Vegas area, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you with the next steps. The law firm of Anthem Injury Lawyers has a dedicated team of car accident lawyers and staff who are ready to help protect your rights and work to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Remember: you don’t have to go it alone if you’ve been the victim in a Las Vegas car accident. To maximize your opportunity to receive the compensation that’s due you, you need attorneys that have a successful track record handling Las Vegas car accident cases. If you are looking for a law firm with experienced injury attorneys, contact Anthem Injury Lawyers today for a free case evaluation. Anything that you discuss with us will be protected by the attorney-client relationship. Our phone number is (702) 857-6000. We offer Free Consultations. Our law office is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley.