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Elderly Driver Experiences Medical Emergency, Causing Car Accident on San Jose Blvd

Last Wednesday, a two-car accident shut down all southbound lanes of San Jose Boulevard near I-295 in Jacksonville. According to a report by Jacksonville.com, an elderly man was in the drive-thru lane at Hardee’s, when he slumped over the wheel and lurched into moving traffic. The man’s car struck a pickup truck moving southbound and both vehicles were sent careening into a nearby light pole. Both drivers were taken to the hospital, and are expected to recover.

Southbound traffic on San Jose Boulevard was completely stopped for almost three hours, as emergency personnel cleared the scene. On top of that, because of the damage to the light pole, Jacksonville Electric Authority had to shut off the power to an adjacent power line.

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Police say the elderly man suffered some kind of medical emergency that caused him to lose consciousness, although an investigation is ongoing as to a more specific cause.

Many senior drivers are safe on the road. Older drivers typically do not speed or drink and drive, and usually obey traffic rules. However, as we age, it is natural for our abilities to change; what we could do five years ago with ease might present more of a challenge today. Driving is no different. Whether it is reduced arm strength to turn the wheel of a car, or an increased reaction time, aging can have substantial effects on our ability to drive.

AAA provides some excellent tips and resources to help senior drivers evaluate their driving skills. Go to SeniorDrivingAAA.com to learn how to improve driving skills and remain safe on the road. There is also a section on the website for family and friends to help elderly loved ones assess whether they are able to drive safely.

Helpguide.org suggests several driving tips for aging drivers:

– Get your eyes checked at least once a year.
– Have your hearing checked once a year.
– Avoid driving when it is dark.
– Get plenty of sleep.
– Know your limitations.
– Listen to the concerns of others.
– Remain open to letting others drive.
– Know your transportation alternatives.
– Keep in mind any side effects your medication may have.

Another idea is to pre-plan your driving routes to avoid confusing, stressful intersections and traffic situations. With the way Jacksonville is growing, traffic signals are constantly changing. Road construction is everywhere. It may be best to design your driving route around these high-risk areas.

By taking these steps, aging drivers can ensure that they remain safe drivers. No one wants to cause an accident, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes accidents happen. To encourage safe driving at all times, the law requires that all drivers remain fit to drive and physically and mentally able to handle the stresses of driving.

Photo Credit: nizger via Compfight cc

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