The United States population is aging rapidly. According to the latest government census, roughly one of every six Americans is 65 or older. This equates to 55.7 million people, with the number of older Americans expected to double over the next 40 years. As drivers, the 65 and older category is more at risk for fatal accidents than any other age group except for drivers under 20. Older drivers cause car accidents for many reasons, ranging from medical problems to distracted driving.
Decline in Driving Skills in Older Drivers
Older drivers may experience a decline in their physical condition, and many states require that older drivers renew their licenses in person so that their vision can be checked. Conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration can make it harder to see and reduce peripheral vision are all common in older people. In Maryland, all drivers 40 and older are required to complete a vision screening either at the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) or with their healthcare provider.
Other conditions affecting a person’s driving ability are arthritis, diabetes, and early dementia. A decline in strength may make it harder to grip or turn the steering wheel, while reduced flexibility can make it harder to turn the body to check blind spots while driving. Older drivers are more likely to be using prescription medications that can cause drowsiness or otherwise interfere with the ability to react quickly to traffic conditions.
What Are the Top Reasons Older Drivers Are Involved in Crashes?
Older drivers get into car accidents for different reasons than younger drivers. Some of the most common errors made by older drivers include:
- Driving much slower than the speed limit, thinking that this is safer when, in fact, it can easily cause an accident when the traffic around them is flowing at a much higher speed.
- Driving the wrong way on roadways when they miss signage indicating the traffic flow or that a street is one way.
- Overlooking a pedestrian and failing to yield the right of way at crosswalks and intersections.
- Driving at dusk, dawn, or nighttime when vision capabilities are significantly reduced.
- Misjudging distances and turning left in front of another vehicle, motorcycle, or bicyclist.
- Distracted driving, whether because of health conditions and medications, technology in the car, or conversations with passengers.
- Changing lanes without signaling or checking blind spots.
Often, a decline in cognitive ability, vision, or hearing happens so gradually that an older driver is unaware of their limitations until they experience a near miss or actual accident. This does not relieve them of the responsibility to others on the road around them.
Our Towson Car Accident Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Protect the Rights of Car Accident Victims
You may be eligible for compensation if you have been injured in a crash. Call 443-589-0150 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Towson car accident lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we represent clients in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.