Elderly Drivers and Car Accidents: Safety Tips and Concerns

We all want to keep our loved ones safe. When someone we love is aging, it’s natural to worry about their safety behind the wheel. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of motor vehicle deaths involving drivers age 65 and older has increased 34% over the last decade. If you’re concerned, here are some ways to keep the elderly drivers in your life safe.

Understanding the Challenges Elderly Drivers Face

There are many reasons that older drivers are more likely to get into car accidents than younger drivers. First, older drivers experience more physical limitations. Their reaction times slow, and their vision and hearing are often not what they used to be. At the same time, older drivers often fail to recognize these limitations because the changes have happened over time.

Many older drivers also take medications that can impair their alertness and cause trouble behind the wheel.

Talking to an Older Driver About Road Safety

It can be a difficult subject to bring up, but it’s important to talk with your loved one about road safety for older drivers. Approach the topic with empathy and understanding. Start with your concerns for their safety and wellbeing rather than with the limits of their driving abilities.

Be prepared to be an active listener. Driving is a critical link to the community and to maintaining independence. For many seniors, losing their ability to drive means isolation from the people and communities they love. It can be upsetting.

Safety Tips for Elderly Drivers

Elderly drivers can do a lot to make sure they’re driving safely well into old age. Here are some tips:

  • Get regular checkups – Encourage your loved one to get regular checkups. These can detect issues that may impair driving.
  • Review medications – If someone you love takes medication, make sure they understand the potential side effects and always take the prescribed amount.
  • Limit night driving or driving in bad weather – Driving doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing deal. If you’re concerned, encourage your elderly driver to drive only in good weather and during daylight hours.
  • Take a driver safety course – Your loved one can take a course designed for older drivers to keep skills fresh. These are offered through the National Safety Council, AARP and the Texas Department of State Health Services, so you can choose an option that works for you and your loved one.
  • Understand drivers license rules – In Texas, drivers aged 79-84 must renew their licenses in person every six years. Drivers aged 85 and older must renew in person every other year.

Get Answers to Your Questions

Take care of the older drivers in your life. Take steps to keep them safe, and if an accident does happen, contact a lawyer right away. The Fell Law Firm is dedicated to representing people of all ages who have been injured in car accidents. To talk with the lawyers at our Richardson, Texas, law office about your situation, call us or contact us online.

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