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Most older drivers never talk to their families about safe driving

A recent survey shows that 83 percent of older drivers never discuss their driving abilities with family.

While most people aged 65 and over are safe drivers, they do face serious risks on the road as they age, including a higher risk of injury and death and the potential for impaired vision, hearing loss, and reduced reaction time. Despite these risks, most older drivers never discuss their driving abilities with family members or a medical professional. According to USA Today, a recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that most older drivers only have a conversation about their driving abilities after they are involved in an auto accident or they have another driving safety incident.

Older drivers and safe driving

As WAER News reports, more than 52,000 accidents in New York State alone in 2017 involved drivers aged 65 and older. While there is no consensus about whether or not older drivers are safer than younger drivers, it is known that older drivers are at an increased risk of injury or death if they are involved in an accident. About 18 percent of people who die in crashes are 65 or older. Furthermore, many factors can affect older drivers’ abilities on the road, including vision or hearing loss, side effects from medication, and slower reaction times due to aging.

Yet despite these risks, the AAA study found that 83 percent of drivers aged 65 or older never talk to family or medical practitioners about their driving abilities. About 65 percent of the time, that conversation is only had after an older driver has a safe driving incident, such as falling asleep at the wheel or swerving out of a lane. Health issues were the reason for talking about safe driving 22 percent of the time followed by a driving infraction or crash at 15 percent. Only seven percent of such conversations were had as a way of planning for the future.

Talking to older drivers

Understandably, many older drivers resist talking about safe driving over fears that they will lose their ability to drive and their independence. As a result, on average older drivers outlive their ability to drive safely by 7 to 10 years according to the AAA Foundation.

While talking to an older family member about their driving can be difficult, the AAA recommends having that conversation as early as possible. It is also important to come up with ways to lessen the impact that potentially losing one’s driving privileges could have. Carpooling, ride-sharing services, and public transportation can all ensure seniors stay mobile.

Personal injury law

No matter when it happens, a car accident can be devastating for victims. Anybody who has been hurt in a crash should get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as they can. In many cases, compensation will be available to crash victims. An experienced attorney can advise clients about how to best pursue such compensation by building an effective case.