Compared to every other age group, seniors are safe drivers. They reduce many of the risks of injury and accidents on the road by wearing seat belts, not driving while intoxicated, and driving within the speed limit. Unfortunately, when there is an accident, a senior is much more likely to be injured or killed due to age-related vulnerabilities, such as fragile bones or a weak heart. Medical conditions like heart disease also interfere with the ability of older drivers to recover from any injuries.
South Carolina law requires that all drivers renew their license every five years instead of every 10 years, beginning at age 65, and also requires a vision test beginning at age 65. There are some things we can do on our own, as well, to ensure we stay safely behind the wheel as long as possible.
What Steps Can We Take to Be Safe Behind the Wheel?
It is very important that you are watchful of your health as you get older, and get regular physicals, vision tests, and hearing tests. Physicals can detect issues with range of motion, arthritis, or your reflexes, which can affect your performance behind the wheel. Changes to your hearing and vision can also have a negative impact on the skills needed to drive well. It is important therefore to stay up to date and be proactive on all doctor visits, to ensure that you can see, hear, and react properly when driving.
Be Alert for Hearing and Vision Changes
Before visiting the eye doctor, you should ask yourself if you can still read highway and street signs, recognize people from a distance, see painted lines, curbs, other vehicles, and pedestrians as well, and especially at dawn, dusk, and at night. Also ask yourself if the glare of oncoming headlights causes discomfort. You should discuss any response that may impair your driving abilities with your doctor. Similarly, before getting an annual hearing test, you should ask yourself if you can hear emergency vehicles as they approach, and the honks of other drivers, and discuss any concerns with the doctor who performs your hearing assessment.
Other Health Concerns
As we age, daily medications often become part of our regimen. It is important for all people, but especially seniors, who are more likely to be placed on new medications, to ask a doctor or pharmacist what effects certain prescription medications could have on the ability to drive. For example, anti-anxiety and sleep medications can cause serious driving impairment, drowsiness, and confusion behind the wheel. Pain medications with codeine or other opiates can also cause drowsiness and confusion. Other medications may also affect driving ability, especially if they cause dizziness or drowsiness, so it is important to discuss all new medications with a physician or pharmacist before driving.
Do You Need a Lawyer as a Result of an Accident Involving a Senior Driver?
We can take many steps to prolong our ability to drive, and to avoid dangerous situations, but this is life, and accidents happen. If you were in an accident in the Charleston area, and are a senior driver, or you were the victim of an accident with a senior driver, you need an experienced auto accident attorney. Call or email David Aylor Law Offices today for a free, no obligation consultation.