Multiple Factors Contribute to the Safety of Older Drivers
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer. As individuals start to age, several physical changes take place which can impact someone’s ability to drive safely. When these skills deteriorate, this can increase the chances of being involved in a car accident, possibly leading to wrongful death. Examples of common changes include:
- Deteriorating Eyesight: Elderly people can develop cataracts, which are small films that cloud the eyes. This makes it challenging to see, possibly making it difficult to react to changes on the road quickly.
- Slowing Reflexes: People who are older may have trouble with their reflexes, which can be measured as their response time to changing situations. The environment on the road can change quickly if someone pulls out in front of their vehicle or if something falls off of the back of a truck. It is essential to have fast reflexes to be able to respond quickly to these changes.
- Decreased Physical Endurance: Those who drive long distances understand that it takes some physical endurance to be able to do this efficiently. When people lack this endurance, they can get tired with the possibility of falling asleep behind the wheel. This can create hazardous driving conditions for others on the road.
These are only some of the physical changes that can take place as people age. These factors can impact the safety of older drivers on the road, a topic which was recently explored in a research paper.
Multiple Factors Play a Role in Safe Driving
Researchers collected data across the country on numerous elderly drivers, including their traffic records, and looked for trends that could shed light on some factors that play a role in the development of accidents. Their results included the following:
- Vehicle Type: The type of vehicle that individuals selected played a role in the rate of car crashes among elderly individuals. For example, those who elected to ride motorcycles had an increased chance of being involved in an accident. Also, older vehicles were more accident-prone as well, likely because the vehicle response time is not as quick.
- Location: Accidents were more common in larger cities, where the traffic is denser. This makes sense because accidents tend to occur when there are more cars on the road.
- Time: There were several times of day that accidents occurred at a higher rate. Elderly drivers who are on the road during rush hour, both in the morning and in the evening, were more prone to having an accident. Those who drive during the evening hours had a higher chance of being involved in a crash as well.
Numerous Injuries Can Develop
Several injuries can occur in elderly drivers who are involved in a car crash. Some of the most severe include:
- Neurological Damage: When older people have a car accident, they are prone to suffering a traumatic brain injury. Those who already have existing neurological conditions, such as dementia, could suffer even worse consequences.
- Bone Fractures: Many elderly people suffer from osteoporosis. This medical condition decreases the density of the calcium in their bones, making them more at risk of developing a bone fracture in an accident.
- Chest Trauma: Because elderly individuals have slower reflexes, they are often slow to protect themselves in a car accident. This increases the risk of suffering serious injuries, such as chest trauma, which can damage vital organs.
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