Each day, there are more and more older Americans on the road, and driving is a very important part of independence for most seniors. However, thousands of older adults are injured or even killed in car accidents each year in the United States. Older adults are more vulnerable during a crash and adults over 70 have higher crash death rates than middle aged drivers because of their vulnerability and likelihood of injury during a crash.
While the risks for older adults are higher, older adults usually are safer drivers than younger age groups. Following these four tips on driving safety can help you, no matter what age you are, stay safe while driving.
- Wear your seat belt. This one goes for passengers too as seat belts have been proven to be one of the most effective ways to prevent death and injuries in car accidents.
- Drive in safe conditions. Driving at night or in bad weather is already more dangerous, but when you add the possibility of declining vision, it becomes very unsafe. Driving during the day and in good weather is an easy way to help you prevent accidents.
- Don’t drive impaired. Most of us know not to drink and drive, but be sure to make sure it’s safe to drive on all your medications too. If any of your medications say not to take while operating heavy machinery, don’t drive after taking them.
- Be honest with yourself. It can be hard to give up the independence that driving offers, but if you know you’re having vision or coordination issues or medications make you drowsy or cause other issues, it might be time to hand over the keys to someone else. While it can be hard, it’s better to let someone else drive than to get in a potentially deadly car accident.
Check out the AARP Smart Driver Course