Car accidents happen way too often on Florida roads, which is why it’s especially important for drivers to be safe, exercise caution, and give driving their full attention. But what if a driver’s age prevents them from doing so?
As we get older and start to deteriorate, we experience many different physical and mental changes. Unfortunately, some of those changes could affect our driving ability, leading to car crashes. Florida has a large elderly population, which means there’s a good chance you will be sharing the road with a senior driver a large percentage of the time.
Just because someone is older doesn’t mean they will automatically be incapable of driving safely. Every person is different. But an elderly person and the people who they are close to need to be able to recognize the signs that driving may no longer be an option.
Signs an Elderly Driver Could Potentially Cause an Accident
It may be difficult for senior drivers to assess their own driving ability. Usually, changes related to aging don’t happen suddenly. Instead, there’s a gradual deterioration. So it’s important to pay close attention to your aging loved ones and recognize these warning signs:
- Blurriness or loss of vision at night and during the day
- Hearing loss
- Impaired mobility
- Joint issues
- Slow reaction time
- Dementia or confusion
- Difficulty following directions
- Medications with unsafe side effects for driving – drowsiness, slowness, burred vision, disorientation
Some of these warning signs could possibly be corrected. Vision problems might need a new glasses prescription. Hearing loss might be helped with a hearing aid. Medications could possibly be tweaked to reduce side effects.
As of 2004, drivers who need to renew their license and are 80 years of age or older must pass a vision test in order to have their license renewed. And if a senior fails that test, they may still be eligible for a restricted driver’s license, which limits their driving privileges but still allows them to drive.
But some warning signs aren’t so easily rectified, and could potentially cause a car accident. If an elderly driver has dementia, they may easily get confused and forget they’re in a car. Slow reaction times and impaired mobility could prevent them from hitting the brake when necessary. And certain medical conditions could make driving an incredibly risky situation.
Losing your driving privileges can be heartbreaking. Driving allows us to be independent and go wherever we want whenever we want. But if an elderly driver can no longer drive without endangering their own life and the lives of others, then it might be time for the senior to stop driving. While this may be a difficult conversation, getting the advice of the senior’s doctor could be especially helpful.
If an elderly driver does get behind the wheel, make sure the driver doesn’t pose a safety risk. Because if there is a risk before the senior gets into a car, the elderly driver can be held liable for damages sustained by the victim. If you were injured in an automobile accident with an unsafe senior driver, contact an experienced car accident attorney today to see if you’re entitled to compensation.