As everyone reaches their late 60s, physical and mental declines start becoming noticeable and may affect driving performance. Being aware of these declines and what you can do to navigate around them might be able to prevent you from experiencing a car accident that could be detrimental to your health and finances. However, alternatives to driving may be a better option in some cases. If you suffered injuries from a car accident caused by someone else, talk to an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer about your options for compensation.
What Studies Show About Older Drivers
In 2017, 6,784 older drivers over the age of 65 were killed in a car accident. This is why some state departments have certain restrictions for drivers who reach a certain age. However, age is not always a factor when it comes to safe driving, but overall health is.
Declining health that affects vision, hearing, memory, and reflexes has been shown to negatively impact safe driving skills. Vision and hearing are essential for avoiding reckless drivers or unexpected changes on the road. These can slow down your reflexes for turning last minute when a car veers into the wrong lane or runs a stop sign. Some of these factors can be countered by developing new driving habits, but others like dementia may not be manageable.
Checking with your doctor is an important step to ensuring that your health is up to par with driving safely. A doctor can notice things that you may not be aware of right away. Some problems often go unnoticed for years until others start pointing them out.
How You Can Avoid a Car Accident
Before you can know how to avoid a car accident, you need to understand your own health and how that can impact your performance. Common health factors that can affect driving are
- Stiff muscles or joints
- Vision or hearing problems
- Dementia (i.e Alzheimer’s disease)
- Slow reflexes
- Medication side effects
Many of these can be curved by new habits, but some like dementia or hearing loss can be difficult to control. In any case, you should see a doctor because they may be able to provide treatment options that can improve something like hearing loss, vision problems, or stiff joints.
For stiff muscles or joints, you can drive a car with automatic transmission, power brakes, and steering, and you can try hand controls for gas and brakes. This is advised for those with severe leg arthritis or stiffness. Vision might be improved with new glasses or contacts. Hearing aids may fix any hearing issues. Slow reflexes can be managed by keeping your distance from other cars, braking earlier, and avoiding busy traffic. In terms of medications, follow what the label says about driving and only drive when the effects have worn off or have your doctor adjust your meds. If you can find someone else to drive you, that works too.
Car Accident Lawyer in Oklahoma
You may be eligible to receive compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages if you were injured by a negligent driver. An Oklahoma car accident lawyer has the experience needed to go up against the insurance company if you were not offered fair compensation. Contact the Law Firm of Griffin Reynolds at (405) 721-9500 today for a free consultation.