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Top Five Hazards Faced by Older Drivers

In 2012, 5,560 people 65 and over died and 214,000 were injured in traffic accidents, according to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration. The numbers are expected to increase as the population of older drivers grows in the next several years.

While many older drivers are some of the safest on the road, our vision, strength, reflexes, and cognition all tend to decline as we age. In fact, studies show that drivers younger than 30 and older than 70 are more likely to have contributed to crashes than drivers in other age groups.

For older drivers, the five most common types of crashes involve:

  • Turning left at an intersection with a stop sign.
  • Turning left at an intersection on a green light without a dedicated green turn arrow.
  • Turning right at a yield sign to merge with traffic at speeds of 40 to 45 mph.
  • Merging onto a highway from a ramp that has a yield sign.
  • Changing lanes on a road that has four or more lanes.

Older drivers can take a number of steps to avoid these hazards and others on the road. They include avoiding driving at night and in poor weather conditions, monitoring your medications and how they may affect your driving, and leaving extra room to stop or maneuver around others on the road. Finally, the most important safety tip is to understand and accept your limitations.