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Elderly drivers at high risk of Boston car accidents

Our Boston personal injury lawyers urge you to speak with older drivers about the importance of safe-driving habits this week during Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. Family and friends can help by staying aware of their loved ones driving skills as they age each year.

As we age our body changes and some of these changes can affect our ability to drive safely. The National Institute on Aging highlights some issues facing older drivers.
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-Hearing changes will affect your ability to hear warn sounds like sirens or horns. More importantly, strange sounds from your car indicate a mechanical problem that you need to hear.

-Reaction time in a vehicle is very important. There are times drivers need to think and act fast. As we age reflexes get slower, muscles are weaker and we may not think as fast as we use to.

-Eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma affect the elder driver’s sight. Having trouble seeing at night can become a problem. Glare from the sun, street lights and headlights will present difficulties. It may become harder to read street signs and seeing people and objects outside your vehicle.

-Weakened muscles and stiffer joints may make turning the steering wheel or braking quickly more difficult. Also you may have a harder time turning your head, lessening your ability to see all that is around you.

As we get older our health changes and medications are needed to keep our bodies functioning properly. Elder drivers should be aware of medication side effects like drowsiness or lightheadedness which can affect your driving ability. This applies to all drivers not just the elderly.

Some states have special requirements when senior drivers renew their license. Some require a road test or a vision check so renewals can’t be done by mail or online.

As we reported in July on our Boston Car Accident Lawyers Blog, the state’s new law banning drivers from text messaging also includes a provision requiring drivers over the age of 75 to have their vision tested and to renew their license in person, rather than online.

Aging affects us all differently so there isn’t a way to determine when everyone should stop driving. But here are some clues that might suggest you put away those car keys for good.

-Are you having fender benders?

-Are you getting lost in previously familiar places?

-Are drivers blowing their horns at you?

-Do you find yourself drifting out of your lane?

-Have you been told by loved ones to stop driving?

-Are you worried about your own driving?

-Do you ever confuse the brake and the gas pedal?

-Do objects and people suddenly appear in front of you?

If you have been injured in a Boston auto accident contact Massachusetts Injury Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free consultation. Call 877-617-5333.