Over the decades, car accidents have been widely studied in Oklahoma and throughout the United States. These studies have tried to determine the most common causes of accidents and ways to prevent them. Each study has looked at different age groups. Oklahoma’s situation reflects one particular problem seen elsewhere in the country: drivers 65 and older face unique challenges when they operate their vehicles. In 2012, an estimated 214,000 older Americans were injured, and 5,560 were killed in accidents.

What most affects the driving of older people? All of us experience physical changes as we age, including vision and hearing. Other medical conditions can also affect an older individual’s driving skills. To ensure older drivers can travel safely, they should drive when weather and traffic conditions are the safest. If weather is harsh, it is better to not drive or to designate someone who can drive for the older person.

What else can older drivers do to improve their safety? The following tips can help older adults safely navigate the road. First, older drivers should always wear seatbelts and shoulder restraints to cut down on the chance of serious injuries if they are in a collision. Second, regular exercise will help older drivers stay physically fit. Third, older individuals can check with their doctors to see if there are ways to limit the side effects of any drugs they take. Fourth, older drivers should have their vision and hearing checked regularly and use glasses or hearing aids if needed. Fifth, adult drivers should also avoid distractions such as answering phone calls or replying to text messages.

In case of a car accident, an older driver may be entitled to compensation if the accident resulted from another person’s negligence. Accident victims can speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney for more information or assistance.

Source: DOT.gov, “Older population,” accessed on Dec. 5, 2014