Understanding the Potential Hazards for Elderly Drivers

Elderly drivers are the fastest growing segment of the driving population. Your aging parents continue to proclaim their competence, but you need to learn what hazards to watch for. Watch this video that illustrates what's at stake.

Elderly Drivers and Safety

Wearing the Senior Simulator Suit

One reporter Susan Magee Hickey, who drove in the a senior tested a senior simulator suit for driving, describes the experience this way,

"They put 40 to 50 pounds of weights on me to restrict my movements, and to simulate arthritic knees and hands and back problems. That’s not to mention the visually impairing eyewear, that caused me to lose center vision and leave me with nothing but peripheral vision.

"After the incredibly tough job of getting into the car, putting on my seat belt and adjusting my mirrors, then came the scary part."

Dave Melton, who conducted the simulation for Liberty Mutual went on to describe the true dangers. “Imagine an emergency occurs – you’ve got to get to the gas and the brake almost instantaneously.With the restricted mobility we’ve given you, it’s tough to do.”

Magee Hickey observed, "Of course, not all seniors are as impaired as I was, but drivers over 65 have the second-highest number of car accidents, right behind teenagers."

The "National Conversation Drive" launched by Liberty Mutual kicked off in Chicago. There they added a feature that helped others understand the challenges of elder eyesight.

"The simulator suit people tried on in Chicago on Tuesday, designed to make a person feel between 75 and 85, was topped off with impairment eyeglasses. One pair mimicked the blurred vision associated with cataracts, another simulated macular degeneration, which causes a loss of central vision."

Beginning The Driving Conversations

Now you know why it's essential to start talking to aging parents about their driving as soon as possible, well before there's a real crisis. Learn the best ways to approach senior drivers.

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