When you reach a certain age, your body changes whether you like it or not. Seniors find themselves challenged in ways they never anticipated, including when they’re behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Safe driving skills are essential for every licensed driver, but crash prevention also becomes part of the driving equation for older adults. By taking every precaution possible, Michigan seniors can prevent car accidents, especially their chances of causing one.
Easy, Inexpensive Vehicle Enhancements Can Prevent Car Accidents
In a recent AAA Foundation LongROAD study, it was found that too many seniors are neglecting to take advantage of safer driving options – 90 percent of senior drivers have not made adaptations to their cars. Vehicles, however, can be adapted in multiple ways to make up for the loss of range of motion, injuries, arthritis, back pain, and more.
Some drivers choose the following options to make their cars more user-friendly, and safer:
- Foot pedal extensions.
- Swiveling seat cushions.
- Steering wheel covers.
- Larger mirrors.
- Panoramic mirrors.
- Blind spot mirrors.
- Glare shields.
- Seat belt handles.
For most senior drivers, the goal is to stay in the driver’s seat for as long as possible. Even though 70 percent of senior drivers have health conditions that impact their muscles and bones, like arthritis, joint pain, and hip or knee replacement, the challenges of physical pain and limited mobility can be improved with the right products.
The Scary Stats for Senior Drivers
While improving a vehicle’s capabilities is an excellent step toward arming seniors with the tools to be better drivers, there is only so much that assistive devices, enhanced vehicle accessories, and car mobility aids can do. For example, a vision problem like macular degeneration is a condition that will inevitably shorten a person’s driving days. Far too often, unfortunately, seniors attempt to keep on doing what they have always done: Being independent, driving themselves from place to place, and refusing to believe that their age or physical limitations can possibly lead to a fatal car accident.
Sadly, drivers over the age of 65 are 17 times more likely than younger drivers to be injured or killed when involved an auto accident. In fact, between 2007 and 2016, the number of drivers over the age of 65 who were involved in fatal auto accidents increased by almost 20 percent.
Challenges for Senior Drivers in Michigan
Typical Michigan roadway problems, like potholes for example, can be even more dangerous for seniors who don’t have excellent vision or who are physically restricted from reacting quickly when faced with an unexpected driving condition.
Any senior who chooses to operate their smartphone while driving will also find themselves in far greater danger of being involved in an auto accident. Distracted driving is dangerous all the time, but when there are other limitations in play, the danger becomes even more pronounced. Wrong-way driving accidents happen among seniors. Medications or health conditions can lead to drowsy driving.
If you have been involved in a car accident as a senior driver or because of a senior driver, contact your Michigan auto accident attorney David Femminineo to discuss your case.