Fit to Drive-Traffic Safety for Older Drivers

The aging process may increase your risk of being in a traffic crash and it affects the severity of injuries you experience. Drivers 65 years and older are more likely to experience a fatal or disabling injury than other drivers.

  • What puts older drivers at risk?
  • What can you do to increase your safety and the safety of others on the road?

Your choices can create a difference in your driving safety. Below are suggestions to help improve your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Behavioral
Behavioral decisions you make affect your safety as a driver. For example, older drivers who fail to wear a seat belt are 15 times more likely to experience a fatal injury in a crash than older drivers who are wearing a seat belt. In addition, crashes caused by inattention tend to be more serious for older drivers.

  • Adjust mirrors and seat height to fit your needs.
  • Routinely have your vehicle serviced and checked for defects.
  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Use a seat belt.
  • Do not drive drowsy or during a time when you are normally asleep.
  • Avoid distracting activities while driving such as eating or using a cell phone.

Environmental
Older drivers tend to avoid driving during inclement weather. However, older drivers involved in crashes during inclement weather are more likely to experience a fatal or disabling injury.

  • Don’t drive too fast for conditions.
  • Drive cautiously through work zones.
  • Drive during daylight or on well-lit roads.

Intersections
Older drivers are five times more likely to experience a fatal injury during a crash at an intersection than other drivers. Older drivers involved in a crash at a stop sign are nine times more likely to experience a fatal injury than other drivers.

  • Yield where appropriate.
  • Read signs carefully to prevent driving the wrong way down a one-way street or highway.
  • Come to a complete stop at stop signs.

Vehicle Control
Older drivers involved in a traffic crash where one car is parking are 2.5 times more common for older drivers. In addition, older drivers involved in a crash where one car is leaving a driveway are two times more likely to experience a fatal or disabling injury than other drivers.

  • Do not follow other vehicles too closely.
  • Be careful while backing up.
  • Check mirrors and blind spots prior to changing lanes.
  • Be cautious crossing roadways.
  • Watch out for cars pulling in and out of driveways.
  • Drive carefully around parked vehicles.

Turning
Crashes caused by improper turning are 1.5 times more common for older drivers. Crashes caused by making an improper right turn on red are two times more common for older drivers.

  • Use caution while making right turns on red lights.
  • Use proper turning signals.
  • Yield properly while making left turns or utilize intersections that have signals with a left-turn arrow.

Medical Information
Check with your physician for any common medical issues that might affect your driving abilities.

  • Vision
  • Memory and Thinking
  • Strength and Flexibility
  • Medications

This information was provided by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.

 

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