Although last year, 2016, the number of fatalities due to road accidents have dropped. Fatalities rate per 100,00 people have dropped to a new low of 2.51 since 1981. However, most of the accidents involved elderly people. Which is worrying as our society is moving towards the ageing.
ELDERLY DRIVING IN SINGAPORE
Sometimes when we are on the roads, not to stereotype, the “lousy” drivers are always blamed on the female drivers. However, we also forget to look into another group which are the elderly drivers. They can be a danger to the roads especially when some of these old folks have a medical condition to cope with.
Ailing senses and Medical conditions
Many elderly suffer from ailing senses: sense of touch, hear, smell, sight and even psychometric movements gets weaker. However, they still drive on the roads for convenience. This can get really dangerous if they suddenly are unable to control the vehicle. Like our driving instructors always tell us, you should not let the car control you but you control the car. This is very true especially when you think about it, the car is just a machine, it has no feelings, once it is out of control, it can become a potential killer machine.
We need to ensure that our elderly at home are in good medical condition before they go on the roads. At the same time, if possible, try to get them to take public transport or taxi instead of driving if they are not feeling well. They could become potential hazards to other road users on the roads if they are not able to handle the vehicle properly.
Some of the common illness which old people in Singapore have are:
- Age related Muscular Degeneration ( AMD) : this could lead to loss of ability to use your limbs and to move normally.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: A form of Dementia, loss of memory, forgetfulness and aimless wandering are some of the common symptoms of this disease.
- Arthritis: Or rheumatism, causes pain and swellness in the joints.
- Stroke and Parkinson Disease: Stroke happens when blood supply to certain part of the brain got cut off. When this happens, the body will not be able to carry out certain functions even things like raising the hand. It all depends on which part of the brain is being affected.
From these common illness, it is not difficult to see that it is really dangerous for the elderly suffering from these symptoms to go on the roads.
Insurance for Elderly Drivers
AA has paired with Liberty Insurance to come up with a special insurance scheme for the elderly drivers aged 65-75. Many of the elderly drivers are not pleased having to pay the same amount of insurance as younger people despite the age. Therefore, with this partnership, AA and Liberty will provide their elderly members in that age group to a consistent rate of insurance payment yearly.
This group of road users have been identified as the more vulnerable group. As mentioned, with their ailing senses, the elderly folks are the ones getting injured most of the times are the pedestrians.
Unaware about the dangers that the roads have
A lot of elderly do not realise that the roads have many unseen dangers. Also many times, due to slower movements, they fail to check the roads before moving off especially when crossing the road of moving about in the carpark.
They can prevent unecessary accidents by;
- Using proper road crossing / underpass or overhead bridges : A lot of elder got injured while Jay walking. Having weaker senses now, they tend to take longer time to react and also when the vehicle is approaching, they will get scared and might crash into the vehicle.
- Escort the elderly to their destination: As far as possible, ensure that the elderly has someone to company him or her when they are going out especially to further places.
- Try to avoid travelling in peak hours: Peak times are crowded and also commuters are in a rush, they do not take note of the surroundings that much. Therefore for the elderly, it is best that they can travel during the less congested timings.
If you have elderly people at home, do make sure that the younger people keep a closer lookout for them when the are using the roads.