Risk of Elderly Drivers

It’s common knowledge that Florida is the number one destination for retirees. However, did you know that the top three counties in Florida where elders age 60 and over reside include Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward County?  Because there are so many seniors living in these counties, they have had an effect on traffic conditions. Many elderly people do not want to give up their driver’s license, as they see it as their sense of freedom. However, research shows that drivers around age 65 have an increased risk of being in a car crash, and the numbers sharply increase for drivers after the age of 75.

Signs of Aging that Affect Driving Ability

Elderly drivers have an increased risk of being involved in a car accident due to the following:

  • Diminishing Eye Sight – It is known that older people have declining vision that can make them misjudge distances or not see things clearly on the road, especially at night.
  • Poor Judgment – Elderly drivers may not be able to judge how fast a car is coming and may make dangerous left-hand turns when traffic doesn’t allow for them.
  • Mental Impairment  – Elderly people sometimes suffer from loss of memory or the loss of the ability to focus, which can increase their chances of being involved in a auto accident.
  • Slow Reflexes- Elderly people have slower reflexes, which can affect their ability to drive well.
  • Medications – In addition, many elderly drivers are taking prescription medications, which could impair their ability to make decisions and react appropriately while driving.

Preventative Measures

It is critical that elderly drivers take necessary steps to help avoid potential accidents, including:

  • Have their vision checked every year, including distance judgment, peripheral vision, and ability to see in dimly lit conditions. Although diminishing eye sight is part of the aging process, seniors may be able to wear glasses to correct their vision and help them see clearly when they drive.
  • Have their hearing checked. In order to be safe on the roadway, it is important to hear warning sounds clearly on the roads, such as someone’s horn, an emergency-vehicle siren, or a train approaching.
  • Talk to their doctors. Elderly people should talk with their doctors about the medication they are on, and if there are any side effects that could affect their driving safety.

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