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Preventing Atlanta Car Crashes: When Is Your Loved One Too Old To Drive?

If you have an older driver in your family, you may be concerned for his or her safety.  You may fear your loved one being hurt or killed in an Atlanta traffic accident. Your fears are not unreasonable. Older drivers have a higher risk of car crash death.
 
An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study of intersection crashes found that 58 of crashes involving drivers age 80 and older were caused when that driver failed to yield at the intersection.  The percentage for drivers age 70-79 was 37 percent. Only 26 percent of drivers age 35-54 failed to yield. 
 
Researchers who study how age affects driving skills say that driving in intersections is especially challenging for older drivers.  There are several reasons for this: the time it takes the brain to process information and react to it increases as we age. This makes it harder for drivers to judge speed, distance and timing.  It may also be more difficult for an older driver to turn his head enough to see traffic in all directions.  In addition, many elderly drivers have vision problems. For every year after age 65, the risk of a left-turn accident increases by eight percent.
 
Signs that your loved one may need to give up driving:
 
• A noticeable decrease in confidence while driving
• Easily distracted while driving
• Agitation or irritation when driving
• Confusion at exits
• Getting lost more frequently or getting lost in familiar places
• Increase in tickets, moving violations, or warnings
• Scrapes or dents on the car, mailbox or garage
• Car accidents
• Driving too fast or slow for traffic conditions
• Failure to notice or pay attention to traffic signs
• Failure to stop at stop sign or red light
• Trouble with turns, especially left turns
• Improper signaling
• Crossing center line and difficulty maintaining lane position
• Hitting curbs
• Stopping in traffic for no reason
• Difficulty turning to see when backing up
• Other drivers often honk horns
• Delayed response in unexpected situations
 
Doctors in six states are required to report patients that they believe can no longer drive safely. In Forty-four states, doctors or family members may anonymously report someone to motor vehicle officials; the DMV can require a license re-examination.
 
Although some elderly drivers may realize they are losing their driving skills, they may continue to drive because they see driving as an important part of their diminishing independence.   Experts suggest that you broach the subject carefully.  Be firm that you are worried about your loved one’s safety and have alternate transportation in place so your loved one can continue to function independently.   
 
If your loved one is injured in a Georgia car accident, he or she may need help dealing with the insurance companies.  Atlanta car crash attorney Shane Smith helps victims of car accidents to get compensation for their medical bills, property damage and other accident-related losses.  There is no cost unless he is able to help you.  To learn more, contact The Law Offices of Shane Smith at 770-HURT-999.
 
Wondering how to go about getting your car fixed after a Georgia car wreck? Download our free book, “Property Damage Guide for Georgia”.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia