Keeping Older Drivers Safe

A lot of us have had to have a talk with our grandparents or parents about how they are on the road. There comes a time when caring for yourself can become difficult, as an older person, especially when driving. What can you do to ensure the older person in your life is being safe behind the wheel? Here are a few ideas about how and why driving can be dangerous for older drivers, and what you can do to help.

A special population

Older drivers, those in their 70s and 80s, are at special risk when they go out on the road. Because of their age, they have higher risks to consider in the event of a crash. In a study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), found that drivers aged 75 and up were approximately “4 times as likely to die as middle-aged drivers when they’re involved in a side-impact crash and about 3 times as likely to die in a frontal crash.”

The good news

There is, however, some good news to be had in all this. Apparently, drivers in their 70s and 80s, while they are at risk, are facing less risks nowadays. These older drivers have had fewer crashes and fewer police-reported crashes than those who are middle-aged. This is attributed partly to advances in health and medicine keeping people more cognizant, expansion of infrastructure, and new licensing laws.

The downside

The real reason that older people are vulnerable to accidents is a combination of their older cars and older senses and bodies. Older drivers are less likely to have a state of the art car. This means that their cars could be missing key safety features such as rearview cameras, working airbags, or emergency braking capabilities. Older people are also likely to fall for scams and disreputable business owners. This can lead to incomplete or shoddy mechanic work on these already older cars. Another factor is their bone density and something called “crash fragility,” which means they just do not stand up to impact as well as younger drivers. The issue of hearing, reacting, and seeing well on the road comes up as well.

What can you do?

Keep constant communication with your parents or relatives. Make sure they have a good person caring for their car, one who you both can trust. Take them for regular checkups for cognition, hearing, and vision; and make sure you find the results and discuss them with a doctor.

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to watch out for the oldest members of your family when they get behind the wheel. The best thing to do is to be in touch as much as possible. It is also important to send someone to check in on your relative if you are not close enough to do so regularly. Changes can be hard, but also necessary. So let’s start 2022 doing what’s right for the people we love, and check in on an older friend or family member today.

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