Could Extra Education For Elderly Drivers Help to Prevent Florida Car Accidents?
While car accident rates and car accident fatalities have dropped nationwide in the last few years, car accidents still claim about 40 000 American lives each year. As well, some groups of drivers have more to worry about than others. According to AARP, drivers who are between ages 30 and 64 have fewer crashes per mile than elderly drivers over 65. As well, elderly drivers are less likely than younger drivers to survive a collision. Since Florida has a large population of seniors, preventing Florida car accidents means addressing these elderly drivers.
AARP has instituted the AARP Driver Safety Program nationwide. This program allows seniors to take refresher driving courses from experienced, volunteer driving instructions. The idea behind these programs is to refresh driving skills, address changes in legislation, and address changes to cars that may have taken place since an elderly driver first received their license. Drivers who complete the course receive an AARP driving-school certificate, which may qualify them to get a discount on their car insurance. Among the things that these classes teach are:
1) The importance of yielding right of way. According to AARP driving instructors, failure to yield right of way leads to a large proportion of car accidents. It is important for all drivers to remember that they are given right of way. While in some cases a driver must yield right of way, it is important to never assume that another driver will stop.
2) Age-appropriate driving. AARP driving instructors teach students that sight, hearing, stamina, and other physical features may suffer with age. It is important for all older drivers to get annual checkups as well as yearly eye exams to keep fit for the road. Any medications should be cleared with a doctor and pharmacist first to ensure that they will not affect driving ability.
3) Check blind spots. AARP recommends that drivers exercise their necks with neck rolls to ensure that they can turn around to check blind spots. Mirrors alone are not enough.
4) Keep mentally alert. All drivers need to avoid anything – audio books, texting, phone calls, food, drinks, newspapers – that can pose any distraction on the road. It is important to keep 100% of your focus on the road. It is also important to get any mental symptoms – such as memory loss or trouble concentrating – checked out by a doctor. These can affect your driving skills.
5) Be realistic about when it’s time to hang up the keys. No one can drive forever. As physical health deteriorates, there may be a time when a driver must stop driving for their own safety and for the safety of everyone around them. Any driver who has any symptoms which could indicate a problem is ethically obligated to seek help. If you can no longer safely drive, it is important to get your condition treated. If this is impossible, it is important to stop driving before your condition leads to an accident.