Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner
A recent Johns Hopkins Health Alert summarized American Automobile Association’s (AAA) tips for older drivers. Faced with the declining vision, mobility, and concentration that frequently accompany aging, safe driving for older drivers becomes especially challenging. In addition, the variety of medications prescribed to address the myriad of age-related conditions frequently can cause drowsiness, dizziness or confusion, all of which are potentially dangerous when combined with driving a vehicle.
The following tips are offered by AAA for older drivers on how to stay safe drivers. We are reproducing the list in its entirety for our readers:
- “Schedule an eye exam. The American Optometric Association recommends that adults ages 19 to 60 receive an eye exam at least every two years, and that those over 60 have their eyes checked annually.
- Review your medications with your doctor, and be alert for any side effects that may interfere with your driving.
- Avoid driving at night, when visibility is low.
- Avoid driving during rush hour.
- Avoid risky left turns by making a series of right turns instead
- Make sure that your steering wheel, seat and mirrors are all properly adjusted, and that you’re able to completely depress the gas and brake pedals.
- Make sure you can move your head and neck comfortably so you can check your blind spots as well as side traffic.
- Always wear a safety belt, even when you’re just making a quick run to the store.
- Take a driver’s safety course to refine your skills and possibly lower your insurance rates. AARP offers a course that can be taken either in-person or online.”
Not surprisingly, senior drivers are injured more easily than younger drivers. However, most people may not realize that they are not the most dangerous drivers on the road. According to AAA statistics:
- “Seniors kill fewer motorists and pedestrians than drivers of any other age group;
- Seniors have the lowest crash involvement rates per licensed driver;
- Seniors have the lowest rate of crash involvement rates involving alcohol impairment;
- Seniors have the highest rates of seat belt use among adults.”
The issue of how and when to determine whether someone has become too risky to safely drive has been the subject of frequent previous postings on the DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog:
- Alzeheimer’s Study Illustrates Need for Reliable Tests of Driving Skill and Cognitive Ability
- Safe Driving for Those Who Take Medications
- Older Drivers Not the Most Dangerous: New Study
- Senior Drivers; Special Equipment and Helpful Advice
- When Should You Ask a Family Member to Stop Driving? Look for Warning Signs for Aging Drivers
- AARP Driving Course for Adults over 50
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About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him “Trial Lawyer of the Year” (2011). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a “Big Gun” and among the “top 1%” of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as “one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers” who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” by Best Lawyers (2011 edition) and has been repeatedly named a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2010)– national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.