As people grow older, there are various changes that occur in their bodies. Some of these changes can affect one’s ability to drive safely. Unfortunately, car accidents involving older adults have become a growing concern in recent years.
Drivers of all ages should go over factors that contribute to these accidents and explore ways to prevent them.
Vision, hearing and reaction time
One of the common challenges that older adults face is declining vision and hearing. These impairments can have a significant impact on driving abilities. Blurry or reduced vision makes it difficult to see road signs, pedestrians or other vehicles. Hearing loss can prevent older drivers from hearing sirens or horns, making it challenging to respond quickly to potential dangers on the road.
With age, reaction time tends to slow down. This means that older adults may take longer to respond to unexpected situations on the road, such as sudden stops or swerving cars. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 200,000 older adults (those 65 and up) received emergency care due to traffic accident injuries in 2020.
Older adults tend to have more health conditions and take more medications compared to younger individuals. Some medications can cause drowsiness or dizziness, making it unsafe to drive. Certain health conditions, such as arthritis, can make it difficult to grip the steering wheel or turn the head to check blind spots.
While older adults may face certain challenges when it comes to driving safely, it is important to remember that not all older drivers are prone to accidents. By getting regular check-ups, adjusting driving habits and staying physically active, older adults can continue to enjoy the freedom of independently getting around while ensuring the safety of themselves and others on the road.