Senior Independence and Car Accidents: The Link Between Elder Independence and Safety

Seniors tend to be safer drivers in many ways, as they are less likely to speed when compared with other age groups, and may be less likely to drive drunk or engage in risky behaviors. Nevertheless, seniors also have higher risks of crashes when compared with other age groups, in part due to changes in road conditions and in part due to age-related conditions.

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Someone who has been driving since they were 16 and is now a senior has been driving for decades. The world, traffic, cars, and the pace of driving have all changed significantly in that time. In addition, seniors may be subject to age-related macular degeneration, vision problems, mobility issues, dementia, and other conditions which can negatively impact driving and which can be a higher risk with age.

In Hollywood and in other parts of South Florida, driving is seen as a sign of independence. Not all smaller communities have access to mass transit and taxis may be expensive. For many seniors, the ability to drive themselves around an important part of independence and allows them to attend doctors’ appointments, remain social, interact with others, and take care basic errands.

It can be daunting to have a family member who is getting older and who perhaps has been getting into fender benders or near misses. How can you tell whether your family member should hang up the keys or whether they can still drive safely? How can you help a senior family member maintain independence while also staying safe on the roads?

It’s important to remember driving is a safety issue not just for others but also for your elderly family member. If they are in a car accident, they may injure someone else. However, they may also injure themselves and if they have pre-existing conditions or are simply elderly, it can take them longer to heal. They may be more subject to complications when compared with a younger driver or passenger. Helping them prevent car accidents is important.

What to Do to Help A Senior Family Member Avoid Crashes

If you are worried about a senior family member or loved one, your first stop should be a doctor’s office. Talk to your family member’s medical team about their health. Do they have medical conditions which could impact their driving? Are they taking medications which can impact their driving ability? Sometimes, diagnosing existing problems and treating them can help enhance driving ability by eliminating certain symptoms. In other cases, simply changing medications may be enough to make someone safer on the roads.

If an elderly family member does have a condition which impacts their driving, rehabilitation experts can help them drive safely and can help make adjustments to their car to account for the medical conditions or mobility issues. In addition, one-on-one driving instruction from a professional who is familiar with rehabilitation work can help a senior drive safely, even with some significant medical conditions. Before asking someone to hang up their car keys, it can be useful to discuss these options.

If you have been injured by someone who has been driving negligently in Homestead or anywhere in South Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group. You may have a claim and may be able to seek compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and more.

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