Protecting Older Adults on the Road

Personal Injury Attorney

Most of us have older adults in our lives who are either friends or family members. While many of them are still independent despite advanced years, it is natural to worry about their health and their overall safety. They are likely to require at least some assistance in completing certain types of tasks, though they may be reluctant to admit it or to ask for it. Getting to and from doctor’s appointments or running errands are among the many areas in which you can help. Driving requires a complex set of skills and as you get older, many of these tend to decline. Helping with these tasks can protect the older adults you love against car accidents and injuries, while also protecting other drivers on the road.

How Old Is Too Old to Drive?

There is no set age at which someone is ‘too old’ to drive. Instead, driving ability typically depends more on the individual’s overall health, any underlying medical conditions they suffer from, and the various mind and body changes that typically occur as we age. Common dangers that can put older drivers at risk behind the wheel include:

·       Certain types of medications they may be taking, which can cause drowsiness or confusion

·       Vision disturbances, which can affect their depth perception and make it harder to see the road

·       Hearing loss, which can leave them oblivious to signs of an impending crash, such as the sound of a car horn or screeching tires

·       Delayed reaction times, which can prevent them from responding to sudden changes in traffic conditions

·       Muscle weakness and poor coordination, which can make it harder to turn the steering wheel and operate the brakes

·       Decreased cognitive abilities, which can impact judgment, increasing the risk of mistakes resulting in car accidents

Helping Older Drivers

If you have concerns about an older adult driver, it is important to bring the subject up in a way that is non-threatening. Be cautious of putting them on the defensive or implying they are no longer fit to drive. Instead, steer them toward the AAA’s driver self-rating tool and allow them to draw their own conclusions. Public transportation and programs within the local area can help as well.

Many states have also implemented stringent testing rules once a senior driver reaches a certain age. Depending on the state, senior drivers are required to pass certain tests when it is time for them to renew their licenses.

As a last resort, if a family is concerned that their elderly loved one should give up the keys to their vehicle, but they refuse, it may be time to speak to their doctor to let them know what is going on. This can help save the life of not only the elderly driver, but any passengers or other commuters they are sharing the road with.

Reach Out to a Car Accident Injury Attorney Today

When car accidents involving older adults do occur, our legal team is here to help you get the compensation you need to recover. Call a personal injury attorney in Ewing, NJ today and request a free consultation.

Thanks to Davis & Brusca, LLC for their insight into personal injury law.