According to AARP, Miami-Dade County is home to more than 2.7 million residents. More than a half-million of those are age 60-plus, which makes Miami-Dade home to the largest number of older adult residents in Florida. As medical technology continues to advance, senior citizens are living longer, with a much better quality of life than previous generations. This means many older citizens are driving more.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, inadequate surveillance is the most frequent cause of motor vehicle crashes for those 70 and older. They include car crashes due to failure to yield the right-of-way (most common), angle crashes, overtaking or merging crashes, and intersection crashes.
How then can older adults remain safe drivers on the road?
Staying aware of physical changes keeps senior drivers safer
The best way for senior drivers to remain safe drivers is to be aware of the physical changes that can come with aging. As such, it’s important that they see their doctors regularly to monitor their health.
Some of the more common physical changes that should be monitored include the following:
- Pain or stiffness in joints
- Chronic conditions
- High or low blood pressure
In addition, certain medications can make driving unsafe. Seniors should always read all medicine labels carefully; they should be versed on any side effects of all the medicine they are taking; and they should never drive if they feel drowsy or lightheaded.
Hearing and vision loss can affect older adults
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, it’s important that older adults know that they may experience vision and/or hearing changes. Problems in either area can affect their own and others’ safety on the roadways.
To ensure that vision and auditory changes do not affect their driving safety, they should
- Schedule regular vision and hearing tests
- Always wear glasses or hearing aids when driving, if needed
- Be aware that driving at night makes it harder to see
- Keep the noise inside the vehicle to a minimum.
Senior drivers need to be aware of inherently dangerous driving situations
There are certain driving situations that are potentially dangerous for all drivers. Seniors should always try to avoid driving specific situations, if possible. These include nighttime driving, rush hour traffic, and inclement weather. By avoiding driving in these situations, the likelihood of avoiding causing an accident greatly increases.
Driving courses: an excellent way for senior drivers to ensure safe driving
One of the best ways senior citizens can remain safe drivers are specifically designed courses that help hone driving skills while reviewing the rules of the road. Organizations like AAA will even discount your auto insurance if you take their course. A senior driving course focuses on the following:
- Avoiding distracted driving
- Defensive driving techniques
- Updated state-specific laws
- Making right-of-way decisions
- Creating a safe following distance
- Using breaks early and often
- Anticipating rather than reacting.
Older drivers have a right to maintain their freedom for as long as possible. By understanding how to remain a safe driver and taking actions to ensure that they are, older adults should be able to drive for a long time to come.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, or have any questions about this article, or any other questions related to personal injury law, please call Julian Rudolph Law at (305) 300-2702, or send us an email. Our personal injury consultations are always free.