As we age, it can become increasingly more difficult to drive. There are both mental and physical impairments that affect us. Unfortunately, research studies from the AARP tell us that seniors are specifically impacted by conditions including the worsening of eyesight, slower reaction times and loss of hearing.
Physical impairments like these can reduce our ability to react timely to sudden situations. While all of these can certainly be the cause of a car crash, there are many other conditions and issues that can cause an accident as well. Too often, age is a first consideration when there is an accident when it may not be a contributing factor. As we celebrate Older Americans Month during May, we want to share a few tips you can use to protect yourself when driving.
1. Avoid driving at night.
As we age, our eyesight worsens. This is especially true in low-light situations. By avoiding driving at night, seniors can increase their chances to prevent accidents. During the day, when visibility is high, there is a better chance that seniors will see an animal scurry across the street, realize there is a parked car on the side of the road or notice a winding road approaching.
2. Use a seatbelt, always.
Did you know that the timeframe when seatbelts were standardized is a heavy influence on whether or not a driver will actually wear one? It is quite common for Older Americans, who are categorized as the generation as Americans over sixty years of age, to still drive without one out of habit. Many serious injuries can be prevented if a seatbelt is in use during a crash.
3. Do not stop for unmarked “police” vehicles.
One way that criminals try to scam Older Americans is by posing as a police officer, flashing “police lights” and sirens to pull over the older driver. These perpetrators then physically harm the drivers, stealing their belongings or even taking their car. Many times, these people place a police siren atop their car, but their car is unmarked. Be very careful if you choose to stop for a police officer in an unmarked vehicle, especially in an area with few cars around. Consider continuing to drive to a crowded area or call the police. Tell the officer you are an Older American who does not feel comfortable pulling to the side of the road for an unmarked car and ask the police department to confirm a registered officer is asking you to pull over. If the car is not a registered officer, ask for an officer to be sent to help you.
4. Make sure your car is adjusted to your specifications before you get on the road.
If other people borrow your car, such as a grandson or a friend, make sure the car is readjusted to you before you drive. Adjust the side and rear-view mirrors, the seats and steering wheel or seat height. Make sure you have a clear view of what is in front of you, to the left and right of you, as well as what is in back of you. Reduce as many blind spots in your vehicle as you can to allow for safer travels.
Lastly, know that there is no shame in choosing to stop driving. There are times when it can simply become too dangerous to drive. It is better for you to be safe than sorry. Utilize car services or ask family members to drive you around. Do you have questions on this issue? Do you need help regarding a recent traffic violation? Do not wait to contact an experienced attorney on our legal team.