You may be worried about an aging parent’s driving ability, the driving of your husband or wife, a relative or friend. Driving safety is important to everyone, including seniors. The aging process can affect driving skills particularly with respect to vision, response time and drowsiness. We encourage drivers of all ages, especially those over 55, to take part in on-going adult driving education and instruction.
Tracking devices are available to loved ones who want a closer watch. Speed limits and vehicle location can be monitored through the cell phone or a home computer tracking navigation system.
Statistics show that the elderly are more likely than other drivers to receive traffic citations for failing to yield, turning improperly, and running red lights and stop signs—all indications of decreased driving ability.
Older adults are at higher risk for road accidents than other age groups. Older drivers are more likely to get into multiple-vehicle accidents than younger people do, and the accidents are more dangerous for them than for younger drivers. A person 65 or older who is involved in a car accident is more likely to be seriously hurt, more likely to require hospitalization, and more likely to die than younger people involved in the same crash. Truth is, fatal crash rates rise sharply after a driver has reached the age of 70.
There are environmental factors as well. These affect people of all ages and include signs and road markings that are difficult to see or read, complex and confusing intersections, older vehicles that lack automatic safety features, and newer dashboard instrument panels with multiple displays. Such factors are often amplified in those seniors who experience a decline in their ability to drive and become very risky.
If you experience any of the above, stay alert to your own driving and be willing to admit and discuss any difficulties and concerns with a relative or someone you trust. Your life, and the lives of others could be at stake.