Since 1999, the number of licensed older drivers on the road has increased by 50 percent. Over 40 million senior citizens maintain their license to stay independent and mobile. Unfortunately, the risk of being seriously injured in an auto accident increases as a person ages. Fortunately, there are things that seniors can do to stay safe on the road.
Older drivers already know how to stay safer when they drive, because many seniors tend to stay off the road when it is raining, at night or in bad traffic. Seniors also tend to use their seat belts more than other age groups. Studies show that older drivers are less likely to drink and drive. In addition to these things, seniors can also improve their safety by:
- Exercising regularly, which improves flexibility and strength
- Plan your route before you drive
- Avoid distracted driving; do not eat or drink, text or make phone calls while driving
- Have your eyes checked regularly
- Drive a newer model car with added safety features
- Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about side effects of any medications you are taking
- Avoid difficult or fast-paced roads
Why do seniors have a higher risk of injury during accidents?
AAA reports that older drivers have fatality rates 17 times higher than those of younger drivers aged 25 to 64. This is due to weaker muscles, reduced flexibility and limited range of motion. Arthritis and inflammation of the joints makes it harder to turn in the car or press the accelerator or brake. Many chronic medical conditions make it more difficult to heal after injuries.
If you suffered injuries in an auto accident, it is a good idea to speak to an attorney before settling with the insurance company to ensure your settlement covers the full extent of your injuries. It would be to your advantage to have experienced representation when you are dealing with the insurance company.