Many elderly drivers are completely safe behind the wheel and are able to maintain their independence and drive safely for many years. In fact, some researchers argue that older drivers are safer than younger drivers because they take fewer risks, are statistically less likely to drink and drive, and may speed less often.
Unfortunately, not all older drivers are safe on the road. As we get older, certain age-related conditions can affect our ability to drive. For example, macular degeneration and other vision problems can come with age and can affect the ability to see correctly enough to drive. In addition, cognitive skills may decline, especially with conditions such as dementia. Mobility issues can also be affected by age-related arthritis, osteoporosis, and other conditions. Even heart conditions can affect driving ability, especially if they put the driver risk of heart attacks. In addition, there are medications that some elderly Hollywood and Florida residents use for various conditions may make them dizzy, confused, or may otherwise affect their driving ability.
If there is someone in your family who is a senior citizen and is still driving, what can you do to keep them safe on the roads?
Family and doctors play a big role in keeping elderly residents safe in their cars, according to experts. Doctors may notice signs of dementia or other potentially dangerous conditions and may choose to remove an elderly person’s license for their own safety. Family may notice that an elderly person is showing signs of difficulty when driving. For example, family may notice:
- An increase in fender benders or near misses
- Memory problems or confusion
- Mobility problems
- A driver getting flustered or lost when driving
If you drive with an elderly loved one and notice that they are struggling, there are many things that you can do:
1) Encourage them to visit their doctor.
There may be a simple fix that can help them regain mobility or can make them feel better so that they are safer. For example, a new set of glasses or a change in prescription medication can help remove some of the barriers that prevent them from driving safely.
2) Take them to a driving rehabilitation professional.
These professionals can evaluate driving ability and can offer assistance to make driving safer for seniors and others affected by mobility issues. For example, these professionals can help a driver adjust the gas and brake pedals so that they are easier to reach or can increase the diameter of the wheel so that it is easier to grip. Many drivers are able to keep their independence with a little extra training and a few adjustments to their car.
3) Offer them alternatives to driving.
Many seniors hang onto their car keys even after they are no longer safe to drive because they fear losing their independence. Talk to a loved one about other ways they can get around. Perhaps the family can hire a driving service or can pull together resources to create a carpool. An elderly driver who can no longer operate a car safely may be more willing to hand over their keys if they know they can still get around and maintain their independence.
Has your loved one been injured in a serious car collision in Hollywood or Florida? Have you been injured by an elderly driver who should not have been on the roads? Contact the law offices of Flaxman Law Group to arrange for a free, no obligation case review.