Channel 4 reports that three pedestrians were killed and four others seriously hurt after an elderly woman backed her SUV into a group of people Sunday outside a Florida clubhouse.
The crash happened outside the Sugar Creek Country Club at 11:20 a.m. in Bradenton, about 45 miles south of Tampa. Residents had gathered for church services inside the building, which is located in a mobile home community, Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Gregory Bueno said. According to FHP, the 79 year old woman attempted to back her car out of a parking spot at the Sugar Creek Country Club. The driver struck a crowd of several pedestrians, leaving three dead and others injured. The elderly woman and her passenger were not hurt.
In 2009, there were 33 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older in the United States. Driving helps older adults stay mobile and independent. But the risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash increases as you age. An average of 500 older adults are injured every day in crashes.
How Getting Older Affects Driving
Many physical changes are involved that affect driving in older people. Not all seniors have these characteristics, but these are some of the reasons why the elderly are more prone to car crashes.
- Slower reaction time
- Depth perception changes (another car seems farther or closer than it really is)
- Vision problems
- Hearing problems
- Decreased ability to focus
- Feelings of nervousness and anxiety
- Medical problems
Thankfully, there are steps that older adults can take to stay safer on the road:
- 1. Exercising regularly to increase strength and flexibility.
- 2. Asking your doctor or pharmacist to review medicines“both prescription and over-the counter“to reduce side effects and interactions.
- 3. Having eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Wear glasses and corrective lenses as required.
- 4. Driving during daylight and in good weather.
- 5. Finding the safest route with well-lit streets, intersections with left turn arrows, and easy parking.
- 6. Planning your route before you drive.
- 7. Leaving a large following distance behind the car in front of you.
- 8. Avoiding distractions in your car, such as listening to a loud radio, talking on your cell phone, texting, and eating.
- 9. Considering potential alternatives to driving, such as riding with a friend or using public transit, that you can use to get around.
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