Being able to drive gives older adults the freedom to provide for themselves and the flexibility to engage in hobbies and activities they enjoy. Unfortunately, as we age, there are certain tasks associated with driving that may become more challenging. The effects of age and of being on certain medications put drivers over the age of 65 at an increased risk for car accidents resulting in potentially serious and life threatening personal injuries. The following provides important information to be aware of, as well as tips on how to tell if you or someone you care about is in danger behind the wheel.
Car Accidents Among Older Drivers
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 40 million drivers over the age of 65 in the United States. While older drivers in general tend to be more cautious and are involved in fewer car accidents than other age groups, the injuries they suffer tend to be more severe. Common types of injuries include
Severe muscle strains and sprains
Broken bones, particularly in the wrists, hips, and legs
Back and neck injuries, such as herniated discs and fractured vertebrae
Head injuries, including concussion and traumatic brain injury
The older a driver is, the less likely they are able to ‘bounce back’ from the injuries they suffer. In terms of elderly car accident statistics, the figures are alarming. The CDC reports that each day more than 700 people over the age of 65 require hospitalization due to car accident injuries, while close to 20 others end up being killed as a result of these collisions.
Factors That Put Older Adult Drivers At Risk
The normal signs of aging that occur among even otherwise healthy and active older adults makes them more likely to be involved in car accidents. Vision difficulties, muscle weakness, reduced coordination, and cognitive delays can all spell danger for older drivers, particularly when driving on busy highways and in high traffic conditions. Many people over the age of 65 are on medications for various health concerns. Medicines to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis can all cause dangerous side effects that impact driving ability.
The American Association of Retired People (AARP) urges older adults and their family members to consider the potential risk. It is important to get your vision checked regularly and to talk to your doctor about the medication you are taking. If you experience any of the following, it may be time to reduce your driving and depend more on others for rides:
Having trouble concentrating while driving and getting easily distracted
Running into curbs when making turns or backing up
Having frequent close calls
Getting into actual car accidents or fender benders
Been In An Accident? Get Help Today
Elderly car accident statistics indicate a real risk for drivers. Car accidents can often be attributed to a variety of factors, including age-related difficulties. If you are injured in a crash and suspect the age of the driver may have been a factor, contact the Surasky Law Firm, LLC. We can arrange a consultation with our Aiken car accident attorney, who can advise you on how to get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.