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Safe driving for older adults

Photo: Daisy-Daisy/iStockphoto

The freedom to grab the car keys for a quick trip to the grocery store or a long drive to relieve stress are some of the benefits of having a driver’s license.

With the privilege of driving, though, comes risk – especially for older adults, whose likelihood of being injured or killed in a traffic crash increases as they age.

In 2018, “almost 7,700 older adults (aged 65+) were killed in traffic crashes, and more than 250,000 were treated in emergency departments for crash injuries,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. “This means that each day more than 20 older adults are killed and almost 700 are injured in crashes.”

The CDC has tips to help older people stay safe behind the wheel:

  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • Never drive impaired by alcohol, drugs or medicines.
  • Talk with a doctor to determine if any medical issues (including prescription or over-the-counter meds) may affect driving.
  • Wear glasses and corrective lenses as directed.
  • Plan routes before leaving.
  • Drive during daylight and in good weather when possible.
  • Consider alternatives to driving, such as riding with a friend, using public transit or using a ride-share services.

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