What You Need to Know About Being an Older Adult Driver

By on September 16, 2021

As we get older, it can sometimes feel like our independence is slipping away from us. We can’t necessarily do all the things we once did on our own, and we may need a bit of help tending to the yard or doing odd jobs around the house. 

For many of us, driving is one form of freedom and independence that we hang onto even as we age. In fact, more people are driving well into their later years – more than ever before. In 2018, it was reported that there were 45 million licensed drivers over the age of 65 in the United States. This represented a 60% increase since the year 2000.

However, it’s essential for older drivers to exercise an even higher degree of caution when taking to the roads. Here’s what you need to know about being an older adult driver and how to protect yourself.

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A Higher Risk of Injury and Death in Collisions

As we age, our risk of sustaining serious injuries or suffering a fatality in a car crash increases. In 2018, nearly 7,700 older adults (aka over the age of 65) were killed in traffic accidents. More than 250,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries caused by collisions. These figures mean that each day, over 20 older adults were killed in auto accidents, with almost 700 experiencing injuries.

These figures have been attributed to the increased physical vulnerability that we experience as we move into our later years. As we get older, our cognitive abilities, hearing, and vision often deteriorate, which can also heighten our likelihood of getting into accidents and therefore experiencing crash-related injuries.

How to Protect Yourself As an Older Adult Driver

While these statistics may be troubling, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself on the roads as an older adult driver. Some of these steps include:

  • Managing medications – If you’re currently taking any medications that could affect your awareness, be sure to exercise extreme care. Don’t drive after taking such medications as it could increase your risk of getting into an accident, endangering yourself and others.
  • Understanding your limits and abiding by them – You may not feel comfortable driving in the rain or in the dark. Be honest about your comfort level when it comes to driving and your limitations and stick to them.
  • Staying up to date with vision and hearing tests – As we mentioned, it’s common for our vision and hearing to diminish as we age. With that in mind, schedule regular check-ups to make sure you catch any changes in your eye and ear health as soon as possible.

What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident

If you’ve been in a car crash, there are a few key things you should do immediately thereafter to safeguard your future:

  • Seek medical attention immediately – Your health is the most important priority following an auto crash. Be sure to visit a hospital or healthcare professional immediately following the accident to ensure you haven’t sustained more severe internal injuries that could require urgent medical attention.
  • Focus on your recovery – Recovering from a car accident can be a long journey, so it’s essential that you put a great deal of focus on it. Consume a healthy diet, get plenty of rest, and drink lots of fluids; do everything in your power to ensure a speedy recovery.
  • Seek legal counsel – Were you in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence? Did you sustain injuries as a result of their negligence? If that’s the case, then one of the most vital steps you must take is hiring a personal injury law firm, such as the Law Offices of Kamela James. A specialized attorney will be able to build your case to secure the compensation you deserve for your damages and suffering.

As an older adult driver, it’s necessary to remain aware of the risks you face and how you can effectively mitigate these risks. Unforeseen events like car accidents present a particularly prominent risk, with a host of potential adverse consequences. However, by taking the relevant precautions and knowing what to do in the event of a crash, you’ll feel more confident taking to the roads well into your later years.

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What You Need to Know About Being an Older Adult Driver