Some older people need to limit or give up driving because of fatigue and poor physical health. They may not react to emergencies on the road as fast as they did when they were younger and may pose a danger to themselves and others.
New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that older people can take simple steps to keep driving safely and prevent car accidents. They can maintain their driving skills by engaging in weekly exercise and stretching. Researchers learned that physical strength helps drivers stay alert to road hazards and potential emergencies.
Simple steps like daily exercise combined with stretching help drivers maintain essential skills such as:
- Braking and steering
- Parking the car
- Checking the side and rear of the car
- Adjusting seat belts
- Remaining seated for a long time
An exercise regimen doesn’t have to be strenuous to be effective. Researchers find that even moderate exercise will help make seniors better drivers and prevent car accidents.
How older drivers can stay in shape and not give up the keys
If you are an older driver or you are concerned about an aging parent, grandparent or other loved one, here are some tips from AAA to help keep them behind the wheel longer. (Note: older adults should talk to their doctor before starting a new exercise routine):
- Conduct a series of stretches to improve body flexibility.
- Get between 2.5 - 5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
- Combine balance training with aerobic and muscle strengthening.
- Talk to a healthcare provider about the best way to combat fatigue.
- Make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep each night to avoid getting tired while driving.
When older drivers stay in shape, they may be able to extend their driving years. There’s another benefit to staying behind the wheel during the golden years. AAA reports that older drivers who keep driving are less likely to suffer from depression than those who give up the keys.
What to do if injured in an accident
Whether you’re old or young, you can become a victim of an accident through no fault of your own. If you are injured, seek medical attention, even if you think it’s no big deal. A medical examination may find complications from the accident you didn’t know existed.
Insurance companies for at-fault drivers may argue the injury is not serious. They might offer a small settlement that doesn’t begin to cover the full extent of your losses.
That’s why it’s important to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident. Let the Chicago attorneys at Coplan + Crane help you get justice. Contact us today for a free consultation.