A recent major car accident involving Britain’s Prince Philip, the husband of long-ruling monarch Queen Elizabeth II, drove home the importance of safe driving for the senior citizen community of the United States.
The 97-year old royal was thankfully uninjured, but the dangers represented by unsafe driving conditions for the senior community have long reaching consequences.
At around 3 p.m. local time on January 18, the prince’s Land Rover flipped onto its side on a public road which was near the Queen’s estate in Norfolk. Philip’s lack of injuries was described by UK tabloids as a “miracle escape” and raised a number of questions as to whether or not his age, just a few months shy of 98, should force him to stop driving.
In the UK, drivers over the age of 70 are required to renew their license every three years. Despite that, many are calling the prince’s fitness as a driver into question, considering that many believe senior citizens to be a danger to themselves and others while behind the wheel.
While we don’t believe that drastic steps such as taking away someone’s driver’s license should be taken for every person over the age of 70, we do recommend a number of important safety precautions to all of our clients who are senior citizen drivers.
The number one precaution senior citizen drivers should take is to avoid driving at night. This is especially true for anyone who has difficulty with their vision. It’s also important for seniors to not drive a vehicle that has tinted windows, as that typically hinders visibility further.
Senior drivers also might want to avoid high traffic periods of time, such as during the morning commute or rush hour. Ideally, retired individuals should try to work their schedules around these periods whenever possible. More drivers on the road means more risk involved.
Windshields should always be kept clean and clear. That is as easy as cleaning it at the gas station or running your wiper fluid periodically. This is another easy tip that will help keep maximum visibility.
Seniors should also make sure that their seat is at the proper height to ensure that they can see the road clearly. Sometimes it helps to put a small pillow on the seat to boost yourself up a little more. (It’s comfortable too!)
No one should ever tailgate, seniors most of all. Make sure to keep at least two car lengths between you and the driver in front of you. If you have difficulty with reaction time, one short stop on the part of the driver in front of you could be enough to cause a major accident.
Periodic vision and hearing checks along with a defensive driving course could also go a long way toward making sure that you’re protecting both yourself and the other drivers on the road. Some insurance policies may even offer a price discount for taking the class.
Safety should always be of the utmost concern when driving, especially if you’re a senior citizen. If you are a senior driver and you’ve been injured in a car accident, call the Palm Beach personal injury lawyers at Fetterman & Associates, P.A. at 561-983-4771 to talk about your rights.
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