Do adults involved in fall down accidents face increased car accident risks?
For older adults, experiencing a fall can be a traumatic and costly experience- leading to a life turned upside-down due to physical limitations and emotional repercussions. But if recent research is any indication, a slip, trip or fall resulting in even the most minor of injuries can leave accident victims facing drastically increased risk of being involved in a car accident, putting themselves and others in danger. While no accident victim should feel that their injuries limit their freedom, it’s critical for them to remain aware of the repercussions of their injuries when stepping behind-the-wheel. A failure to do so may not only put others on the road at risk, but can also lead to lengthy legal repercussions if a driver’s fall-related injuries lead to a serious crash.
How much does a fall affect car accident risks?
According to McKnight’s Senior Living, recent research indicates that older adults who have fallen are 40 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident. The research, a joint effort between the University of Colorado and Columbia University, looked at crash data from 15 different studies involving 47,000 eligible drivers aged 55 and older with a mean age of 65. Based on estimates of car crashes caused by older drivers, researchers found that falls and factors that lead to falls, account for more than 177,000 additional car crashes each year.
In addition to uncovering this link, researchers speculate that a number of different fall-related factors may contribute to increased accidents risk, including the following:
- Neuromuscular function
- Cognitive ability
Distracted driving and car accidents
involving senior drivers
Furthermore, research from Germany’s Saarland University suggests that technology such as voice navigation systems, too, may play an integral role in car crashes involving older drivers. Researchers from Saarland University conducted a study involving 70 participants - one control group with an average age of 72 and another with an average age of 23. Drivers were required to drive along a simulated path while listening to voice navigation commands of varying complexity. While the study’s size may lack in comparison to that of University of Colorado and Columbia University Researchers, Saarland University researchers found that older drivers often devoted their full attention away from the road toward navigation systems, thus increasing risk of a distracted driving accident. Regardless of what may cause an older driver to experience difficulties while behind-the-wheel of a car, it’s critical for both senior drivers and their families, to assess dangerous driving situations and precautions that could be taken on the road.