Is walking a safe alternative to driving for the elderly?

On Behalf of | Dec 26, 2017 | Pedestrian Accidents |

As many people age, they decide the time has come to curtail their driving or to stop driving altogether. They attribute this to many factors such as slowed reaction time and decreased visual keenness.

Having robust alternatives to driving makes this choice much easier. For example, if you live in an area with excellent public transportation, you may decide that it is really no hardship to stop driving. Similarly, if the public transportation is not great but it is easy to get around via walking, you may decide that walking is a completely safe alternative to driving. The reality is that, yes it can be safer for you to walk than drive, but the situation is likely to be nuanced.

The same factors influence walking and driving

What exactly made you decide to give up driving? Perhaps it was hearing issues or decreased braking time that made you afraid you would be more likely to rear-end another car. One thing to keep in mind is that, even though you are walking, you still have these same physical issues. While walking, you may be less likely to hear a car coming up behind you or be slower to get out of the way of a car compared with someone 10 years younger than you. Moreover, your bones are still weaker than they used to be and more prone to injury, with longer recovery times possible.

Does that mean you should not walk? Absolutely not. Walking is a lot of fun, great exercise and a truly reasonable alternative to driving. It just means that being aware of any limitations helps you stay safer when walking. For example, if vision is a problem, you might choose to walk only during daylight hours. If hearing is a problem, you could make yourself even more visible to distracted drivers, drunk drivers and the like. You can also explore routes with less traffic or times to walk when there are fewer cars around.

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