As more and more Americans live and work longer than ever, it's time to take a look at safety issues for older drivers.
Tips for Older Drivers:
Buckle up — Wearing a seatbelt lowers the risk of serious injury in an accident by 60%. When combined with airbags, the risk is lowered by 85%.1 Plus, in most states, not wearing a seatbelt can mean a ticket, which can lead to higher insurance rates.
Be alert — Avoid distractions including conversations with passengers, the car radio, and especially cell phones. Regardless of age, a driver talking on the phone is four times more likely to get into a serious accident.2
Know your limits — Get regular medical checkups, including vision and hearing. Recognize your changing capabilities: arthritis, stress, other conditions and medications can affect reaction times. Driving for extended periods will strain muscles, vision and concentration.
Know the road — Avoid driving on unfamiliar roads, at night, in bad weather and during rush hour. Although older drivers have fewer accidents than younger drivers, they tend to have significantly more accidents per mile driven,3 so it’s a good idea to make those miles safer.
A well-maintained car is a safe car — Reduce your worry - and your risk of accident - by keeping your car well maintained. That includes tire safety, watching out for curbs and potholes, regular oil and fluid checks, and making sure that emergency equipment, cell phone, and a first-aid kit are always in the car.
Take an older driver safety course — An older driver safety course may help reduce your premium, but more importantly can help you hone your skills as your driving style changes with age.
For more information:
Here are a few sites that offer excellent information on older driver safety:
1 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2001. Fifth/sixth report to Congress: effectiveness of occupant protection systems and their use. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation.
2 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. July 12, 2005. “1st Evidence of Effects of Cell Phone Use On Injury Crashes.” http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr071205.html
3 Houser, A. 2005. Older Drivers and Automobile Safety Research Report. Washington, DC: AARP Public Policy Institute. http://www.aarp.org/research/housing-mobility/transportation/fs51r_drivers.html
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