In recognition of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week going on right now, our Charlotte personal injury lawyers want to remind family members to evaluate the driving skills of an older adult in your family with an open mind. Their physical skills and mental or visual abilities may have diminished in recent months without your knowing. This is one of the most dangerous times of the year to be traveling on roadways, so senior drivers may be more at risk of a car accident in Asheville, Hickory, Statesville or elsewhere in the state.
Recent studies have shown that the average person now lives about 10 to 12 years beyond their abilities to be a safe driver. To most senior citizens, a decade can feel like a lifetime when you have your driving privileges taken away.
News 14 Carolina reports that most older drivers feel that their skills don't diminish aside from driving at night or during rush-hour traffic. This time of year when the days get shorter and our roadways are congested with holiday travelers, it is sensible to keep elderly loved ones off the roadways as much as possible to reduce their risk of injury. However, it is unrealistic for senior citizens to think that if they avoid driving in these two conditions it becomes more plausible that they should be able to drive forever.
A spokesman from AAA Carolinas suggests that senior drivers should perform self-assessments of their driving abilities routinely. Older drivers should also take driving tests bi-annually or at least once a year to determine if driving abilities have diminished. Being able to drive defensively becomes more and more important with age so elders should take a class offered by a senior-living facility to evaluate their abilities to drive safely. If a class isn't available, then loved ones should take the time to evaluate and make sure the older adult is not a danger to themselves or other motorists.
Just like going for regular medical doctor check-ups, the American Occupational Therapy Association Inc. wants to reiterate the importance of going for regular driving fitness check-ups with an occupational driving rehabilitation specialist. The therapist can evaluate and will give an unbiased assessment of how an older adult scores on tests involving motor skills, visual skills and sensory skills with relation to driving abilities.
One of the most important points of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is that life doesn't have to end when a senior driver reaches the ending stages of their driving career. There are many other viable options out there to keep an older adult active in the community. If elders don't want to always ask family members to take them places they can check into public transportation offered by a senior adult facility or living center. These programs are designed to assist older adults who can no longer drive but are still mobile enough to leave their home and manage safely on their own.
Keep the older people in your life safe this holiday season by offering to drive them where they need to go and keeping them from driving on congested and potentially dangerous roadway conditions.