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Despite Being More Experienced Drivers, Baby Boomers Face Increased Risks For Car Accidents

Baby boomers make up a significant portion of the population. As they get older, many of them will be facing issues that go along with aging. Among these are overall declines in physical and cognitive health, which can impact their driving abilities. As a result, they face a greater risk for car accidents and injuries. 

Factors That Can Make Older Adults More Prone to Car Accidents

The term ‘baby boomer’ refers to the generation born between 1946 and 1964. People in this age group make up significant portions of the population. As many begin reaching their 60s and 70s, they are having definite impacts on demographics in towns such as Portland. According to a Portland State University study, there were roughly 250,000 older adults living in our area in 2010. This number is expected to more than double by 2030. 

Increases in older adult populations come with increased concerns about common issues they typically face. Among these are declines in driving abilities. While their decades worth experience behind the wheel generally works in their favor, there are definite health issues that occur as people get older that put them at higher risk for car accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that these are likely to include the following: 

  • Vision impairments, which impacts depth perception and often result in night blindness;
  • Slower reflexes, making older adults less able to respond to sudden changes in traffic or emergency situations;
  • Decreased coordination, making steering, applying the brakes, and performing other driver functions more challenging;
  • Cognitive declines, which can lead to greater confusion and increased risk of mistakes behind the wheel;
  • Increased reliance on medications, which can cause serious impairments. 

Preventing Car Accidents Among Older Adults

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that all of the above put older adults at greater risk for car accidents. When crashes and collisions do happen, older adults are often unable to bounce back from injuries as quickly as their younger counterparts. Even a relatively minor fender bender can result in permanent disabilities. To protect themselves, their passengers, and others on the road, it is important for older drivers to follow these tips: 

  • Review any medications you are taking with your doctor to ensure they will not interfere with driving abilities;
  • Get your vision checked and avoid driving after dark is night blindness is a problem;
  • Keep your hands on the wheel at all times and avoid driving distractions;
  • Avoid heavily congested roads and interstates, where motorists are driving at higher speeds. 

If you have had several near misses or a fender bender, it is likely time to reach out for help. Speak with your family or friends about getting rides and look into local buses or ride sharing services. While this may be less convenient, it is better than putting yourself and other motorists at risk. 

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

When car accidents happen, the Johnston Law Firm P.C. helps you get the compensation you need to recover. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland car accident attorneys online today.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.