Are Older Drivers More Prone to Auto Accidents?

When you imagine a driver who is most likely to be involved in a car crash, you probably picture a teenager or newer driver who is less experienced and distracted by their phones or passengers. While teens are responsible for a majority of collisions, adults on the other end of the age spectrum can also be a concern on the road. In fact, older drivers become more prone to driving accidents with every year they age. Some of the symptoms that impact driving may progress slowly and can be hard to recognize until it is too late. It is important to monitor elderly drivers in your family and be sure to contact a Colorado automobile accident attorney if you find yourself in a collision with someone exhibiting any of the following impairments.

Slower Reaction Time

As people age, it gets harder for their brains to recognize that something is in their way and to react in time. Even when they notice danger, deteriorating joints and muscles can make it difficult for them to move quickly or forcefully enough on the pedals or steering wheel. This can lead to very dangerous situations on the roads and highways. When an older driver cannot brake or swerve quickly enough, pedestrians and other drivers are at risk of serious injury and even death.

Cognitive Decline and Confusion

Along with physical deterioration, mental decline is a serious problem for elderly drivers. Even those who do not suffer from dementia are more likely to experience confusion or forgetfulness, which can lead to hazardous situations while driving. Failing to understand a traffic pattern or becoming confused by road signs can easily result in a collision. It is important to monitor elderly family members for signs of cognitive decline if they are driving regularly in order to avoid tragedy.

Vision Impairment

Eyesight can be one of the first things to decline in an adult driver, often many years ahead of cognitive and physical symptoms. Night vision is particularly impacted for many older drivers, as the dark sky and bright street lights can cause a blurry view. Some drivers require prescription eyeglasses or may even be advised to stop driving after dark. If someone with known night vision issues collides with you and injures you or your car, consult a Colorado automobile accident attorney to consider your options for restitution.

Hearing Impairment

Although it seems less impactful on driving performance than vision, a decline in hearing can lead to issues behind the wheel. In addition to missing important cues such as honking horns or ambulance sirens, hearing impairment in older adults tends to lead to more cognitive confusion. As noted above, this can lead to misunderstandings of the traffic patterns and result in collisions with other cars and pedestrians.


In order to manage some of the health issues of aging, older adults may take a variety of medications. In some instances, prescriptions may have side effects of drowsiness, confusion, or physical difficulties. All of these symptoms can significantly alter an older driver’s ability to obey traffic lights, signs, and to remain awake and alert in order to drive safely. It is important to be aware of side effects to your family members’ medications in order to avoid traffic accidents.