Car Accident

Understanding the Impact of Car Accidents on Senior Drivers

Drivers of all ages suffer negative consequences in car collisions, but senior drivers are at heightened risk. Not only does their age put them at greater risk of being involved in a crash, but it also increases the severity of the injuries they may suffer. It is crucial for all drivers to drive cautiously in an effort to protect others and prevent accidents.

Learn more about why aging drivers are at risk, how age affects accident risk, and how we can prevent collisions. If you’ve suffered injuries in a car collision, call Peake & Fowler at 803-998-2412 to set up a consultation immediately.

How Aging Affects Driving

The aging process brings a number of changes, all of which can affect a driver’s performance. These changes include:

  • Vision changes: Vision often deteriorates as a person ages. This change may leave an individual less able to see different colors, see well in low-light conditions, and read signs.
  • Loss of hearing: Hearing loss is another symptom commonly associated with aging. This can be especially dangerous when there are sirens, train horns, car horns, and other sounds on the road. 
  • Cognitive decline: While this is not a universal experience, some senior drivers do experience cognitive decline as they grow older. This is an exceptionally dangerous symptom, as it can manifest in many different ways. Drivers may forget where they are going and drive inappropriately for their location, panic when they realize where they are, or even drive the wrong way on a one-way road.
  • Physical limitations: Some elderly individuals have physical limitations, including limited range of motion, poor flexibility, weak muscle strength, and arthritis. These health issues can cause trouble with steering, using a turn signal, braking, or otherwise driving safely.
  • Longer reaction time: Taking longer to react to stimuli is extremely common among aging individuals. This becomes an issue when someone darts out in front of them or an unexpected obstacle appears.

Vulnerability in Accidents

Sadly, senior drivers are also at greater risk of injuries when they are involved in accidents. They are likely to have preexisting medical conditions that can be exacerbated by a collision. This can also complicate their recovery. Many seniors are on numerous medications, many of which can interact with medications given after a car accident. 

These medications can even cause car accidents if they leave seniors dizzy, tired, or struggling to concentrate. Seniors tend to be much more physically fragile than younger drivers. Even in minor crashes, they are at risk of severe injuries that can follow them for the rest of their lives. Overall, senior drivers often report longer recovery times than younger drivers. This has a profound impact on their quality of life.

Tips for Safe Senior Driving

There’s a lot that seniors and their loved ones can do to keep them safe while driving. First, prioritize regular health checks. Ensure that these examinations look at the driver’s vision and hearing. This helps family members catch health issues early so they can get their loved one off the road before they are at risk of a crash. Senior drivers should prioritize physical activity and mental hobbies that improve their health and fight off the signs of aging.

It’s also helpful for aging drivers to avoid nighttime driving and driving in inclement weather. These are some of the most dangerous times for elderly drivers, and relying on a family member for transportation during these times can keep the roads safer. If your senior family member uses a smartphone for navigation, ensure that they enter their destination address and music before they start driving. Using a phone while driving is never a good idea, but it is even more hazardous for older drivers.

Preventing Collisions

What about other drivers? Other drivers can prevent collisions with senior drivers simply by giving other drivers the benefit of the doubt. Instead of assuming that someone is driving slowly or unsteadily on purpose or because they are a bad driver, just assume that they are inexperienced or elderly. This puts you in a better frame of mind to give them the benefit of the doubt and back off.

Choose Peake & Fowler for Your Car Accident Claim

After an accident, it is crucial to talk to an attorney about your legal options. Ready to schedule your consultation? Set up a time to talk about your accident and plan your next steps by calling us at 803-998-2412 or contacting us online.