Some age groups could be more prone to traffic accidents for many reasons. Novice drivers may face danger due to inexperience, while teenagers might lack the responsibility to prioritize road safety. Meanwhile, elders may face risks while driving because of inevitable issues due to their age and physical condition.
Driving is a valuable skill for older adults because it helps them accomplish daily tasks independently. Unfortunately, the risks of getting into an accident and sustaining physical harm increase as they age. Around 200,000 elders suffered injuries, while 7,500 died from traffic accidents in 2020 alone. These numbers show that during that year, about 20 elders died in these incidents, and 540 sustained physical harm daily.
Studies also show elders have a higher crash rate than other age groups because of their impairments and vulnerabilities. Their health conditions could contribute to crash hazards, such as poor vision, difficulty focusing, and weakness caused by illnesses or medication.
One or a combination of these factors can significantly impact their driving skills. Elders should practice preventative measures to manage these crash risks, such as properly taking advantage of auto safety features, choosing to drive only in ideal road conditions, and refusing to get behind the wheel if they feel unwell.
Road safety efforts for older drivers
Aside from typical preventative road safety practices, experts suggest older drivers should make additional efforts to take care of their bodies. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle could promote strength and flexibility, potentially preserving skills necessary when driving.
Elders can keep their abilities intact by getting regular checkups and paying attention to their eye health as needed. They could also improve concentration by removing distractions within the vehicle and preparing adequately before attempting to drive.