Geriatric DUIs and Why They’re More Deadly

We can’t stop the march of time or its effects. As we age, our bodies aren’t the only things that change. Our minds also go through changes that make even everyday activities a little harder, such as driving. Yet most of us don’t want to admit that these changes are taking place, just like we don’t want to admit that we have as many wrinkles or gray hairs as we do.

Denying those changes can lead to deadly consequences, especially when you get behind the wheel. Add any amount of alcohol and you may be an even bigger threat on the road. You may have had an exemplary driving record and always taken caution when drinking before driving, but you may not be prepared for how the changes that aging brings can affect you, which can make you a bigger danger to yourself and others.

Aging and Driving

You may know that you can’t play football the way you used to or that you sometimes have irritation in your elbow, but you may not think that has anything to do with your ability to drive safely. The truth is that even subtle changes in your body as you age can make you more dangerous behind the wheel.

Aging can lead to stiff muscles and joints, which can make it harder to react quickly to obstacles, such as turning a wheel sharply. Even if you still have full range of movement without discomfort, you may have a reduced reaction time. When you’re driving at high speeds, even a fraction of a second can determine whether you are in an accident and the severity of it. You may also suffer vision or hearing loss as you age, which can make it harder to see or hear what you need to while you’re driving.

You don’t need to be infirm to be a dangerous driver. Even small changes in your mental or physical abilities can increase your risk of an accident.

Medications and Driving

As you get older, you are also likely to have to take medications to treat ailments or to lower your risk of health problems. You may have a whole retinue of pills that you have to take as you get older, ranging from blood pressure medications to pills that help you control your cholesterol. You may not even pay attention to the list of potential side effects, and you may not notice some of them in your daily activities. But some side effects, like delayed reaction time or drowsiness, can make you a danger when you’re driving.

If you are taking medications, you can also suffer more pronounced effects after drinking alcohol. You may have one drink and feel as if you went on an all-night bender. But the effects may be delayed, so you may mistakenly think that you are ok to drive and only realize your mistake after you are well on your way.

Drinking and Driving

Add alcohol to medication, and you’ve got a potentially deadly combination. Drink alcohol when you’re already experiencing some of the delays or other changes that aging brings on, and your ability to drive safely will be even more greatly impaired. On top of all that, aging makes it harder for you to metabolize alcohol the same way.
Even one drink can affect you far more than you would think. For all these reasons, it is much more likely that
you can display dangerous driving behaviors from fewer drinks than you would expect, resulting in a serious accident or a DUI charge in Arizona.

It can be hard to admit the way things change as you get older, but it is important to be honest with yourself so that you can keep yourself and others safe. You will need to be much more careful when you drink, and you may even need to limit your driving altogether. Don’t let yourself be lulled into driving because you’ve “only” had one or two drinks. Plan to always have a driver if you plan to drink.

If you have been charged with a DUI, call My AZ Lawyers to talk with one of our experienced DUI defense lawyers about your legal options. We’ll examine the circumstances of your case to create the best strategy to help you avoid prosecution or to reduce the penalties you face. We represent clients in the Mesa, Glendale, Tucson, and Phoenix areas. Call us today to talk with one of our DUI defense attorneys about your case.

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