Last time, we discussed how federal statistics reveal that there are currently more than 36 million licensed drivers over the age of 65 here in the U.S., and how many of these older drivers are at an elevated risk of being involved in serious -- or even fatal -- accidents due to changes brought on by the aging process.
As disconcerting as this is, consider that federal statistics also show that the number of licensed senior drivers is only going to increase over the next 15 years, as more and more Baby Boomers cross this age threshold.
This reality naturally raises questions as to what can be done to help keep older drivers safe behind the wheel.
While we indicated in our last post that organizations like the AARP are providing driving safety classes for members, it's important to know that experts have identified other steps that drivers can take to help mitigate the road safety risk posed by advanced age.
- Keep driving safely: Experts indicate that it's imperative for drivers to keep up their good practices behind the wheel as they enter their golden years -- wearing a seatbelt, obeying the speed limit, maintaining a safe following distance, etc. -- as driving is habitual, meaning they'll likely continue to be safety conscious as older drivers.
- Plan ahead: Older people should make more of an effort to plan out their driving excursions. This may include mapping out routes that take them around rather than through potentially uncomfortable driving areas, leaving at off-peak traffic times, and avoiding driving at night or during inclement weather.
- Update technology: Older people may want to consider upgrading their vehicles, as automakers have made significant safety improvements that not only improve their chances of surviving a crash, but also avoiding them altogether. Indeed, modern vehicles come equipped with items like backup cameras, automatic braking systems and blind-spot monitors.
- Recognize limitations and plan a retirement: As hard as it may be, experts indicate that older drivers need to pay careful attention to any changes in their physical and/or mental abilities that could comprise their driving abilities, including listening to observations from friends and family. Even if no major health changes are noted, experts indicate that older drivers should nevertheless set a firm driving retirement date for themselves in order to ensure their safety and the safety of others.
If you or a loved one has suffered catastrophic injuries due to the negligence of another motorist, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options for seeking justice.