A Traffic Accident Changes Everything

An accident happens

An Accident Close To Home

A colleague suggested I interview her friend, a twenty something entrepreneur injured in a car accident. Why interview someone about an accident? The individual who hit her car was a ninety-four year old experienced driver. 

A Surprise Accident

As I set up the interview she asked I not share her name as the case was not settled. With that she began to recount the accident. She was driving a friend home on an early evening night as she crossed through an intersection another vehicle ran a red light. Her car spun through the intersection and stopped on opposite side of the street. As she retold the details of her accident I heard surprise and shock in her voice as she relived the night. “It might have been worse.”  That was the refrain throughout our conversation, “It might have been worse.”  

You see a few seconds difference, her car might have been t-boned. Her injuries might have been fatal. After the accident she made her way out of the car and woman came towards her. Did I hit you? Was her first question. No, the woman replied I saw the accident. The woman said the other car ran the red light. I thought you might need a witness. Within minutes the police arrived and talked to each driver. She never spoke to the other driver. 

The Aftermath

That night of the police deemed both cars drivable and each drove away that night. However, once the insurance adjuster examined the car it was totaled. Written off, beyond repair, and only fit for salvage.“It might have been worse.”  Her Prius had been fully paid for and now she faces buying a new car.

About Insurance

In addition, to buying a new car there are other consequences. When she contacted the other driver’s insurance company she was told the accident was her fault. Their insured said she had run a red light. Wait, was her response. “I have a witness there was a passenger in the car.” She was told, “Passengers are considered biased and excluded as witnesses.” The Good Samaritan saved the day and the other insurance company eventually accepted responsibility. “It might have been worse.” While she escaped serious injuries, she did not escape injury. Her pain has been debilitating. As a result of the accident, she requires pain medication, physical therapy, and plenty of rest. Working for herself these injuries affected her ability to work, impacting her livelihood. “It might have been worse.”

A Closer Look at Home

She never met the other driver however, she found out his age from the accident report. How badly does he feel? Since the accident, her life has changed. Rest, pain, medication, therapy, and rest. She wonders has his life has changed? She wonders a few seconds of misjudgment has led to so much pain and stress from the accident. “It also might have been worse.” Since the accident, she also thinks about her parents. Will they know when it is time to stop driving? As we finished our conversation she said, “Older drivers need to pay attention to their driving. It’s also up to adult children to keep an eye on our older parents driving habits and talk to them.”

Final Thoughts

Age is not the sole reason to give up driving, the ability is. As we age there are physical changes that may affect driving. To maximize your ability to drive safely visit your eye and healthcare provider annually, maintain your flexibility with regular stretching classes, and know the side effects of any prescriptions or supplements may have on your driving.

About Judi Bonilla

At the present time, I am the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. When you think of older adults do you see America’s largest resource?  With this in mind, I combined my background in business with a desire to influence aging in America. For this reason, I was the first Gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Additionally, it’s why I wrote Freewheeling After Sixty. Freewheeling the first book to empower older adults about their transportation choices.