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How Can Older Drivers Stay Safe on the Road?

Contact Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. to Speak with an Experienced Wilmington Car Accident Lawyer

As we age, a certain amount of natural decline in vision and hearing is expected; however, this should not prevent older drivers from staying safe on the roads. There are many precautions older drivers can take to ensure they will reach their destination safely.

Having regular assessments of vision and hearing can give senior drivers confidence that their faculties are sharp and dependable. Routine medical appointments are also crucial so that any prescription or over-the-counter medication side effects like drowsiness can be discussed.

Additionally, older drivers can review the following safety tips before getting behind the wheel:

  • Avoid distracted driving: Anything that takes your focus away from the act of driving is a distraction. This includes eating, drinking, cell phones, applying make-up, and tending to passengers.
  • Maintain a safe distance: Allowing enough following distance to the car in front of you gives you time to maneuver if something unexpected happens.
  • Drive during daylight hours: Visibility is better during the day, so older drivers should avoid driving at dusk or night whenever possible.
  • Check the weather: Be aware of weather conditions for your drive and try to postpone your trip if hazardous conditions like snow, ice, fog, or heavy rain are predicted.
  • Choose routes carefully: Roads with lower speed limits and fewer left turns that cross busy thoroughfares are generally safer. The route might take longer, but avoiding complicated intersections and high-speed roads is worth the extra time. It is also best to avoid peak travel times when roads are the most congested.
  • Check mirrors and backup cameras: Keep the windshield and mirrors clean to reduce glare, and then check regularly to ensure the path is clear before going into reverse or changing lanes.
  • Use driver assistance technology: Modern vehicles have various technologies available to assist older drivers such as automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, and blind spot alerts.

Adapting Vehicles for Older Drivers

Older drivers may have chronic conditions such as arthritis that make turning the head while backing up and getting in and out of the car more difficult. Fortunately, several products are available that adapt the vehicle to suit the needs of older drivers.

Support handles and grab bars can be installed on the door frame to provide help entering and exiting the vehicle. There are also seat cushions that swivel 360 degrees to make getting in and out easier, enabling the driver or passenger to pivot their body to a comfortable angle. Seat belt extenders are great for adding length to a buckle receiver, making it easier to find and fasten.

For those with trouble gripping objects, consider a steering wheel cover that is larger, softer, and easier to grip. There is also a long-handled tool available that makes it easier to open tight gas caps.

Additional mirrors can improve rear visibility and eliminate blind spots for older drivers. There are panoramic rearview mirrors and smaller convex mirrors fastened to the corner of the vehicle’s side view mirrors. For older cars without backup cameras, some kits consisting of a camera for the rear license plate and a monitor that mounts to the dash or windshield can be installed.

Older drivers can also take one of the many driver accident prevention safety courses offered by AAA or their local driving school to stay safe on the road and further their confidence boost.

Contact Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. to Speak with an Experienced Wilmington Car Accident Lawyer

At Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A., we have been helping injured car accident victims since 1981 and can help you, too. Call us at 302-656-5445 today to schedule your free consultation with a Wilmington car accident lawyer, or contact us online. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we represent clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.