As people age, many parts of their life slow down. They may walk slower, be less stable on their feet, and react slower when driving a car. Knowing when someone is too old to drive is a subjective question.
Nowadays, people are living longer, which means more elderly drivers on the road. According to the Government Accountability Office, nearly 20 percent of motorists are elderly. What if your elderly loved one insists on driving? Staying safe on the road is everyone’s responsibility. If your loved one puts themselves and/or other road users at risk, it might be time for them to retire from driving.
More Elderly Drivers on the Road
Driver’s license renewal procedures differ by state, but some have requirements that elderly drivers take exams more frequently. Over the last two decades, the number of licensed drivers over 70 years old has increased. However, fewer older drivers have died in car accidents.
Car accident deaths across all age groups have gone down in recent years. This is mostly attributed to increased car safety and safety devices. As older people keep their driver’s license longer in life, it is not uncommon to see a driver over 80 years old. This can be concerning because as people age, their physical, cognitive, and visual abilities decline as well. However, this is not constant among all people. There are countless factors at play that may limit or extend an elderly person’s ability to drive late in life.
Another factor can be medications. While people of all age groups take prescription medications, these heavier drugs tend to affect the elderly more. This can impair their ability to drive compared to younger drivers.
One of the most concerning problems found in recent surveys for elderly drivers is the fact that accidents are frequently caused because the driver did not see another vehicle. They looked but simply did not see the vehicle.
Elderly Family Members
Having a discussion with an elderly family member about whether they should continue to drive is stressful and can be detrimental to their mental health. However, if they still have their faculties, maybe a compromise would be appropriate. For example, just agree that the elderly family member will no longer drive at night or during rush hour. Maybe they also stay off the expressway. This can reduce the likelihood of a serious accident and still give them their freedom.
There are also serious and alarming signs that you should know. If you see any, take swift action before your elderly loved one hurts themself or someone else. These signs include:
- Decreased levels of confidence while driving.
- Difficulty turning their head.
- Easily distracted.
- Hitting curbs.
- Seeing new scrapes and dents.
- Increased agitation while driving.
- Driving either too slow or too fast.
- Failing to yield.
- Slow response to dangerous situations.
- Getting lost in familiar locations.
When you notice any of these signs in an elderly family member, do not ignore them. It may be time to have a talk about retiring from driving.
The number of older drivers on the road is increasing rapidly. There is no way to know when it is the right time for you to consider revoking your elderly family member’s driving rights. While having this conversation will not be easy, it is important. Approach the discussion with love and compassion. Work with them to keep them safe while also respecting their freedom as an individual.
What Should You Do if You are in a Car Accident with an Elderly Driver?
Above all, you want to make sure that you and the other driver are alright. The health and safety of every person involved in the car accident is paramount. If you are involved in a car accident with an elderly driver, you should also have compassion. You may have an elderly family member who could find themself in a similar situation, and you would want them treated similarly. The elderly driver is probably also very shaken and scared about what happened. If you are alright, remain calm and follow these steps.
Even if you have not suffered any injuries, you may still want to call 911 to have the police come to the accident scene. Your car may have suffered damage and may need to have expensive repairs done. Paying for these yourself could be a financial challenge.
When the police arrive, they will speak with everyone and create a report. They may not assign fault, but the report will have detailed information about what occurred.
Take Pictures and Videos
If you are seriously injured, you may not be able to manage this step, so have a trusted friend or family member do this for you. Make sure to get pictures and videos of the entire accident scene, the individual vehicles, and your injuries. These images can prove invaluable when documenting what happened.
Speak With Witnesses
Especially in minor accidents, witnesses will often leave before the police arrive. You at least want to get their contact information so your legal team can speak with them later. Witnesses often provide insight and a different perspective about the seconds leading up to your accident.
See Your Doctor
Even if you must go to the hospital because of your injuries, you should still see your regular doctor as soon as you are able. Your regular doctor will know your medical history better than anyone and will be able to paint a picture of how your injuries have affected your ability to go about your daily routine.
Your doctor can also help you chart a path for your recovery. Make sure you keep copies of your medical records as they will be needed to help show that you may be entitled to compensation after your accident.
Keep a Journal
Even minor injuries can cause serious disruptions to a person’s life. A concussion, one of the most common car accident injuries, may require a person to rest on the couch for weeks, missing out on special life events and work. The more serious your injuries, the more your life will be affected.
Over time, you will not remember all the hardships and medical hurdles you faced during your recovery. By writing in your journal every day and describing in detail the progress and setbacks you have made, you can paint a picture in your own words about how your car accident injuries have negatively impacted your life.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC can Help You Get Back on Your Feet After an Accident with an Elderly Driver
If you have a loved one who is getting older and is a danger on the road, you may want to have a conversation with them about driving. Our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC can help you if you were injured in an accident with an elderly driver. Call us at 757-LAW-0000 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we proudly serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.