After a 100-year-old driver in Southern California struck a group of school children with his car last month, many have been discussing the possible danger of elderly drivers in California. It is important to understand why older drivers may face issues behind the wheel and what health problems may lead seniors to cause Orange County car accidents.
Why are elderly drivers increasingly involved in traffic accidents as they age?
- Vision issues. Vision becomes worse with age, and conditions like cataracts also can affect older drivers. While many wear glasses, some drivers may not keep up with prescriptions, while others might struggle with sensitivity to light, peripheral vision, or night vision.
- Hearing issues. Being hard of hearing can make it difficult to know when an emergency vehicle is approaching, to hear a horn, or simply to be aware of the traffic around you. Many seniors experience hearing loss as they age.
- Side effects of medications. The elderly also face a larger general range of medical issues that often require prescription medication. Some of these prescriptions can cause side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, or slow reflexes.
- Slowing movements and reflexes. Seniors have less muscle mass, slower response times, and less range of motion. They may be less able to respond quickly in an emergency, avoid a collision, or effectively slam on their brakes.
- Memory and reasoning issues. An elderly driver may become confused by road design, may forget familiar areas, or may lose touch with driving regulations.
Elderly drivers should try to remain aware of their mental and physical health, especially as it relates to driving safety. Speaking with your doctor and your loved ones about these issues is especially important for knowing when to hang up your keys.
Have you been injured in a California car accident? Speak to an Orange County accident attorney at Russell & Lazarus today. Reach us toll-free at (949) 851-0222.