Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, picnics and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.
But did you know that historically, the stretch between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the 100 deadliest days of the year on the nation’s roads? The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that Memorial Day weekend is the single most dangerous weekend on America’s roads.
Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council says “As Americans gear up for the most carefree months of the year, we cannot take our safety for granted. Driving is one of the riskiest things we do every day. Engaging our defensive driving skills and staying alert can mean the difference between attending cookouts and family parties or spending the evening at the emergency room or worse.”
Matt Gurwell, founder & CEO of Keeping Us Safe, adds that “Going home for the holiday weekend has layers of significance for adult children, particularly those who live out of town. It remains a time of family, friends and togetherness, but it’s also an opportunity to observe your parents to determine if their physical and cognitive skills are still sufficient for safe driving.”
Following are three tips to help you gauge your loved-one’s driving abilities:
Has either of your parents fallen in the past year?
Recent research has established a definite correlation between falls and older driver crash involvement. According to an article published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, older adults that have fallen two or more times in the previous year may be at a higher risk of being involved in an at-fault car crash.
The study, conducted by the Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, and the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, found that older drivers who fell two or more times in the prior year were 1.5 times as likely to be involved in an accident and two times as likely to be involved in an at-fault accident.
The study’s bottom line; a history of frequent falling can serve as a valid indicator in identifying older drivers that are at a higher risk for future traffic accidents. That’s pretty significant!