According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of drivers ages 65 and older in the United States has increased by more than 60% since 2000. The risk for auto accident injury also increases with age, especially after 75.
If you are approaching retirement age or have an older driver in your life, review the factors that can impact safe driving for this age group.
Risk factors for senior drivers
As we age, changes in vision, physical agility and mental processing can all impact the ability to drive safely. For example, older drivers often have difficulty seeing at night or during rainy weather. Up to 80% of Americans in their 70s have arthritis, which may affect the ability to make sudden moves when operating a vehicle. Many older adults also take one or more prescription medications, which can have side effects that make driving unsafe
Safe driving tips to try
Drivers who have been on the road for a few decades can try these strategies to feel more confident behind the wheel and avoid an accident injury:
- Limit driving at night and reschedule trips planned for days with inclement weather.
- Have an eye exam once and year and wear glasses or contacts if necessary when driving.
- Always wear a seatbelt both as a driver and passenger.
- Plan the route before driving and program a GPS if you have one. Stick to roads where you feel comfortable.
While it can be difficult to start a conversation with a parent or loved one about handing over the keys, doing so may become necessary to prevent a serious accident.