They say 70 is the new 50, and it is true that older adults in Portland in general lead healthy, active lives. While driving often plays an important role in maintaining your independence and enjoying the recreational opportunities the city offers, it is important to be aware of potential dangers you may face behind the wheel. Older adults are more likely to avoid reckless driving behaviors, such as speeding, drinking and driving, or not wearing a seatbelt, but the limitations that go along with aging can put them at risk for car accidents and injuries. The following provides important information about the risks you need to be aware of, along with safety tips to help keep you driving safely.
Common Risks Older Drivers Face
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), there are nearly 33 million drivers throughout the U.S. who are over the age of 65, and this number is expected to more than double over the next 15 years. While there are numerous benefits that go along with living an active lifestyle as you age, it is impossible to ignore the potential impacts this process can have on your driving abilities.
The AAA reports that roughly 200,000 older adults suffer serious injuries each year as the result of car accidents, and nearly 6,000 of these crashes end up proving fatal. Drivers over the age of 70 are among the safest on the roads, taking fewer risks than other age groups, but when accidents do occur, they tend to suffer more serious injuries. Common factors involved in these accidents have to do with the overall general decline in health we all experience as we age. This includes:
- Vision problems, which make it harder to see the roads or detect distances between vehicles;
- Diminished reaction times and reflexes, which can make it harder to respond to sudden changes in traffic condition;
- Muscle and joint weakness, which can make it harder to grip the wheel and apply the brakes;
- Cognitive difficulties, which can cause older drivers to become confused or disoriented behind the wheel.
Tips to Stay Safe Behind the Wheel
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following tips to help older drivers stay safe while on the road:
- Check with your doctor about exercises to increase strength and credibility;
- Review medications to ensure none of them could cause impairments behind the wheel;
- Get your eyes checked and wear prescription glasses as needed;
- Limit driving to weekday daylight hours, rather than nights or weekends;
- Check weather forecasts and avoid driving in inclement weather;
- Avoid distractions behind the wheel;
- Practice defensive driving by obeying speed limits and traffic signals, and give other drivers plenty of space.
Contact a Portland Car Accident Attorney for Help
If you are involved in an accident, reach out and contact the Johnston Law Firm (503) 546-3167 to request a consultation. Our Portland car accident attorney will be happy to meet you to discuss your case and how we can help you get the compensation you need to recover.