Tips for Older Drivers

According to the Department of Transportation, there were more than 36 million licensed drivers 65 years and older in the United States in 2012.  Unfortunately, the risk of being killed and injured rises as one ages.  A study conducted by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that on average 15 older adults were killed and 586 were injured everyday in car crashes in 2012.  A report from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that for per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at ages 70‒74 and are highest among drivers age 85 and older. The most likely explanation for the increase in fatality rate is due to age-related declines in vision and cognitive functioning (ability to reason and remember), as well as physical changes, impacting some older adults' driving abilities.

So what are the steps older drivers can take to stay safe on the road? National Institute of Health makes several suggestions including:

·   Make sure you see well enough – may have to limit driving to daytime hours.

·   Check your hearing.

·   Leave enough space between you and the car in front of you.

·   Start braking early when you need to stop.

·   Avoid high-traffic areas if possible.

·   Scan far down the road so you can anticipate problems and plan your actions.

·   Avoid left turns if they make you uncomfortable. 

·   Consider driving refresher courses.