Falls Linked to Increased Risk of Accidents for Older Drivers
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Mar 31, 2016 in Car Accidents
The AAA Foundation for Safety conducted a study and found that older drivers with a history of falling have a 40 percent increased risk of being involved in a car crash. Driving often becomes risky for older adults who have experienced a fall because their ability to function is compromised.
According to the president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, this research is critical in identifying what leads to a greater risk for a crash. Currently, drivers over age 60 are involved in more than 400,000 collisions per year. Of these older adults, about 12 million will experience a fall each year.
Researchers from the University of Colorado Anshutz Medical Campus helped put together the AAA's report called, Associations Between Falls and Driving Outcomes in Older Adults. According to the study, older drivers who have experienced falls that compromise their functioning abilities may have difficulty steering or braking when trying to avoid a crash. Another contributing factor of increased accidents is a decrease in physical activity from falls, which can weaken driving skills.
Falls can often scare an individual into becoming less active, which results in reducing coordination and weakened muscles. This ultimately contributes to an increase in crashes.
The report suggests a few ways to prevent crashes and keep older drivers safer on the roadways:
- Fall prevention is key. If an older adult experiences a fall, it is often an indication of declining physical health. Finding low impact exercises to increase flexibility, enhance coordination and strengthen muscles can keep older adult driving safely. AAA recommends a series of neck, shoulder, trunk and back exercises and stretches, especially for older drivers who have experienced recent falls.
- Older drivers can also benefit from driver improvement courses. These courses can often keep seniors driving safer for much longer.
AAA provides a variety of resources to help older adult drivers stay safe. For more information, visit www.SeniorDriving.AAA.com
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