Safety Tips for Older Drivers - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Wednesday, 01 November 2017

Safety Tips for Older Drivers

#AskStephanieSlavens

Baby boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1965, are one of the factors contributing to an aging Canadian population. According to the 2016 census, the number of senior adults in the country outnumbers children for the first time. One place where this is apparent is on the nation’s streets and highways where older drivers are involved in more accidents than any age group other than teenagers, which prompted Ontario to institute testing procedures for anyone 80 years of age or older seeking to renew a driver’s licence. It is important for the safety of all drivers and pedestrians for older drivers to heed a few tips for safe driving.

Changes brought on by aging can affect driving

All drivers should be aware of impairments that might affect their ability to operate a motor vehicle, and it is even more important for older drivers to honestly assess how the aging process has caused physical and mental changes that could affect their driving ability. Some of the common changes people notice as they get older include:

  • Impaired night vision: As drivers age, vision changes can impair their ability to drive at night. Even though drivers 80 years of age and older must pass a vision test to renew their driver’s licences, it might not detect impaired vision in low-light conditions. Drivers noticing difficulty seeing at night or at dusk should discuss the problem with their vision professional. Continuing to drive at night could pose a risk to the driver and to others.
  • Changes in vision or ability to focus: Older drivers must put pride and a fear of losing their licence to drive aside and seek help from their vision professional at the first sign of a change in their vision.
  • Hearing: Being unable to hear a car horn or the siren of an approaching emergency vehicle can result in a deadly crash. It is estimated that at least 60 percent of the baby boomer generation living in Canada suffer from some form of hearing loss caused by the aging process.
  • Reflexes and motor skills: It is difficult to admit, but people don’t react as quickly as they get older. Drivers noticing impaired motor skills should talk to their physician and to their family about whether it is safe for them to continue driving.

Memory and mental acuity can be critical to driver safety. For example, being able to immediately distinguish between the brake and gas pedals can literally be the difference between life and death for the driver and for others on the road. The members of the family of an older driver owe it to their loved one to point out noticeable changes they observe in the person’s thought and memory processes.

Medications and driving

Older drivers must be aware of how medications they take affect their ability to drive. This is particularly true for individuals taking multiple prescription medications that could interact with each other to impair the person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Discuss all medications and their side effects with a doctor or pharmacist.

Modify driving routine to accommodate physical changes

If you have difficulty seeing in low-light conditions, ask someone else to drive in the evening or at night. When driving long distances, do not wait until you are fatigued to stop. Drowsiness when driving can be as unsafe as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Getting help with a personal injury claim

Regardless of your age, when accidents happen, the personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond are ready to assist you. Their experience handling claims for compensation for accident victims suffering serious personal injuries is unsurpassed. Don’t delay, contact our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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