Senior citizens face certain increased dangers on the roadway. The normal effects of aging - such as hearing and vision loss and decreased response times - make it more difficult to safely complete routine driving tasks.
Research has identified changes that can make vehicles and roadways safer for use by elderly drivers. This, in turn, protects not only elderly drivers and their passengers, but all other road users, as well.
It is important for government traffic safety authorities and auto manufacturers to understand the specific challenges faced by elderly drivers in order to develop solutions which effectively meet these needs.
What the Research Shows About Elderly Drivers
Many different studies have examined the challenges faced by elderly drivers. One study published in the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences research journal found that driving assistance features had the greatest potential to reduce traffic accidents involving elderly drivers when they met four specific goals. These were: drawing attention to oncoming traffic, signaling road users in the driver’s blind spot, directing the driver’s attention to relevant traffic information, and providing advance knowledge of the next traffic situation.
Many existing crash avoidance technologies can meet these goals. Collision warning systems, automated lane changing and merging systems, backup cameras and cross-traffic warning sensors, in-vehicle warning alerts, and adaptive cruise control programs (which adjust speed to account for obstructions in the roadway) can all help meet the specific needs of elderly drivers. As these technologies are developed, improved, and expanded to a wider number of vehicles on the roads of Laredo, they will be better able to reduce collisions caused by elderly drivers.
Meanwhile, a national transportation group investigated the problem from another angle and identified changes which would be made to roadways themselves in order to meet the needs of elderly drivers. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the group recommended larger road signs with better illumination (which assists aging drivers experiencing poor eyesight). Longer entrance and exit ramps were also recommended to ease the confusion of quickly merging on or off of a highway in congested traffic conditions. Finally, the group recommended the use of traffic roundabouts in lieu of traditional intersections. This is because accident rates for elderly drivers are especially high in intersections.
The Consequences for Real Texas Accident Victims
Car accidents involving elderly drivers are more than abstract statistics. Real Texas families suffer devastating losses as the result of car accidents. KSAT reports on the death of a Bulverde woman, 88 years old, who reportedly caused an accident in front of her church. The woman failed to yield to oncoming traffic while attempting to turn into the church parking lot. This caused her vehicle to be struck by a pickup truck pulling a trailer. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Elderly drivers have many unique needs that must be addressed in order to help them safely use the public roadways in Texas. A Laredo car accident attorney can help victims hold negligent drivers and roadway maintenance agencies accountable for injuries and losses sustained in a car accident.