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Safety tips for older drivers

Most New York residents love to drive. Not only do many people depend on cars to get them to and from work, they cherish the independence and mobility that driving gives them. However, roadway risks increase as drivers age. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, an average of 586 older drivers are hurt in car accidents each day in the United States. In 2012, more than 5,560 older drivers lost their lives in car accidents.

The Federal Highway Administration reports that there were close to 36 million American drivers age 65 or older on the road in 2012, which is 36 percent higher than it was in 1999. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fatal crashes begin markedly increasing for drivers between the ages of 70 and 74. Drivers age 85 or older have the highest fatality rates. Some of the reasons older drivers may be involved in more fatal crashes include diminished cognitive functioning and vision. Older drivers may also suffer from other physical changes that affect their ability to drive safely.

There are several ways older drivers can decrease their driving risks. Nearly 80 percent of older drivers already use seat belts, and they tend to avoid driving in bad weather. They also are less likely to drink and drive than younger adults. Experts recommend that older drivers also exercise regularly and have their eyes checked annually. Planning routes with well-lit roads and intersections with left turn arrows may also reduce accidents. It is also suggested that older drivers avoid in-car distractions like cellphone use, eating or a loud radio.

A person who has been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of an older driver may want to discuss with an attorney the advisability of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist. Damages often sought in such an action include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other applicable amounts.

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