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Accident involving elderly driver leaves 1 dead

A 78-year-old woman was killed in Venice, Florida, after her 81-year-old companion turned directly into the path of a Ford PK. The elderly driver was apparently trying to make a left turn.

The 78-year-old died at the scene, and the driver was hospitalized with serious injuries. The driver of the Ford managed to avoid serious injury. The accident is currently under investigation, but it may have been nothing more than a case of an older driver (who was from New York) being confused on an unfamiliar road.

Older drivers can be reluctant -- after years of independence -- to let go of their driver's licenses long after age and infirmity have slowed their reflexes or made driving difficult for other reasons. That reluctance can lead to serious accidents.

How do you know if it's time to have a discussion about giving up driving with your parent -- or when to lay the keys down yourself? Here are some signs that it's time for an older person to stop driving:

  • It's getting harder to respond quickly to unexpected events on the road (like cars changing lanes without signaling or road closings).
  • Distractions seem to be everywhere, and it's becoming harder to focus on actually driving.
  • The driver has started to misjudge distances (as evidenced by scrapes, bumped curbs and dented fenders).
  • Confusion is setting in when the driver is an unfamiliar place, accessing the highway at night or in similar settings.
  • The driver has had a few "close calls" already on the road.

Some older people can keep driving just fine -- but many experience a decline in their cognitive abilities and reflexes as they age that should prompt them to quit. If you've been injured in a crash with another driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

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