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Report: The risk of a car accident increases as people age


Every day, approximately 586 older adults in America are injured due to a car accident. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, the risk of an injury or death in a motor vehicle accident goes up as people get older. The numbers are overwhelming: In 2012, car accidents were responsible for the death of more than 5,560 older Americans and more than 214,000 injuries.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points out that the rate of a fatal incident increases significantly for people ages 70 to 74. The highest of such rates applies to people who are 85 or older.

There are several reasons that older adults are more at risk, such as the following: 

  •        Older people may have poor vision, affecting their driving ability.
  •        Older people may be more susceptible not only to injury but other medical complications as well.
  •        Older people may have impairment when it comes to the reasoning necessary to navigate the road.

Fortunately, there are steps that people can take to remain safe. For example, wearing a seatbelt can reduce the risk of an injury or death. The CDC also encourages older drivers to limit their time behind the wheel to daylight and other favorable conditions.

Older adults should take preventative measures such as having their vision checked, avoiding taking medications before driving and planning out the driving route before getting in the car. Lastly, if someone suspects he or she may no longer be safe behind the wheel, there are alternatives to driving, such as public transportation.

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