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How Seniors Can Protect Themselves from Car Accidents

Posted by David Ghiorso, CPA, October 25, 2016

Today’s seniors are enjoying more active retirements than ever. They’re out and about, traveling far and wide, enjoying the world (or even just their communities). But as we age, the risk of a car accident becomes more concerning. Healing is slower, and injuries are more likely to be serious. Plus, the financial harm from a bad accident can be significant. We want you to have fun when you’re on the road, but remember to take these precautions to keep yourself safe.

Check for recalls. Watch for recall notices in the mail, or check your car manufacturer’s website regularly. Some recalls are issued because a component of certain vehicles is found to be unsafe or even likely to cause an accident. If recalls are issued, promptly schedule a appointment with your dealership to have your car upgraded.

Practice defensive driving habits. Aside from following all traffic safety laws, it’s important to anticipate the actions of others. In particular, you should remember that accidents often occur because someone didn’t follow a rule. Double check to be sure oncoming traffic is stopping at red lights before pulling into intersections, make eye contact at four-way stops, and assume that others might not see you in their blind spots. You can prevent many accidents by anticipating potential mistakes.

Keep your insurance up to date. This seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget your auto insurance payments, especially if you pay for six months’ or a years’ worth of insurance all at once. Mark the renewal date on your calendar, so that your insurance won’t lapse. And of course, stash a copy of your insurance card in your car.

Schedule for regular vision and hearing appointments. As you age, hearing and vision problems could become a concern. Go for yearly checkups, and upgrade contacts or eyeglasses when necessary.

Make a plan for the worst-case scenario. Sometimes, accidents are just unavoidable. And aside from your own injuries, you might be worried about what would happen to your home, pets, and even house plants while you’re in the hospital. Make sure that at least one trusted person has a house key, so they can stop by and take care of things for you if you’re ever hospitalized.

Keep emergency instructions in your vehicles, such as the names and numbers of emergency contacts, and a list of any medications you are prescribed. And of course, meet with your estate planning attorney to create a living will or healthcare directive. These documents ensure that your wishes will be followed in the event that you are incapacitated by an accident.

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