Most of us have older adults in our lives who are either friends or family members. While many of them are still independent despite advanced years, it is natural to worry about their health and their overall safety. They are likely to require at least some assistance in completing certain types of tasks, though they may be reluctant to admit it or to ask for it. Getting to and from doctor’s appointments or running errands are among the many areas in which you can help. Driving requires a complex set of skills and as you get older, many of these tend to decline. Helping with these tasks can protect the older adults you love against car accidents and injuries, while also protecting other drivers on the road.
How Old Is Too Old to Drive?
There is no set age at which someone is ‘too old’ to drive. Instead, driving ability typically depends more on the individual’s overall health, any underlying medical conditions they suffer from, and the various mind and body changes that typically occur as we age. Unfortunately, our firm has reported on many incidents where an elderly driver has been killed in a crash where their age played a factor.
Common dangers that can put older drivers at risk behind the wheel include:
- Certain types of medications they may be taking, which can cause drowsiness or confusion
- Vision disturbances, which can affect their depth perception and make it harder to see the road
- Hearing loss, which can leave them oblivious to signs of an impending crash, such as the sound of a car horn or screeching tires
- Delayed reaction times, which can prevent them from responding to sudden changes in traffic conditions
- Muscle weakness and poor coordination, which can make it harder to turn the steering wheel and operate the brakes
- Decreased cognitive abilities, which can impact judgment, increasing the risk of mistakes resulting in car accidents
Helping Older Drivers
There are signs that an elderly driver may need to give up driving. These include:
- There are new scratches and/or dents on the vehicle
- They are suddenly getting cited for traffic violations
- They become angry or agitated when they return home after driving
- They become confused while driving, like being able to judge the distance between their car and other vehicles around them
- They become lost frequently, even in places that should be familiar to them
- They have a hard time concentrating while they are driving
- Other people are complaining about incidents occurring
If you have concerns about an older adult driver, it is important to bring the subject up in a way that is non-threatening. Be cautious of putting them on the defensive or implying they are no longer fit to drive. Instead, steer them toward the AAA’s driver self-rating tool and allow them to draw their own conclusions.
Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by an elderly driver, you may be entitled to damages for the losses you have suffered because of your injury. A Virginia car accident attorney can pursue legal action for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, permanent disability, disfigurement, and more.
The legal team from Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn have been advocating for victims and their families for more than 30 years and will use all available resources to obtain the best result possible for the circumstances of your injury case. Whether the injury happened in a vehicle accident, from a defective product, or some other type of incident, a VA accident attorney can assist you in collecting financial compensation. Call our office today at 800-752-0042 for a free case evaluation.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.