We see older drivers on the road everyday. You have your own visual rolling around in your heads, I’m sure, as this group of drivers has certainly endured its share of jokes and jabs since… well, since people began driving cars. It’s a popular belief that older drivers cause more accidents than their younger counterparts. But is this a fact, or just another aging myth?
Let me relieve you of any suspense – it’s a myth! While it’s true that cars are being built safer and stronger than ever before, it’s also true that today’s older drivers (over 70) are less likely to be involved in car accidents than middle-age drivers (ages 35-54), and are far less prone to being killed or seriously injured in a crash. And if that fact doesn’t surprise you, consider this: drivers over the age of 80 suffer less than half as many fatal accidents as middle age drivers! And drivers in their late 80s and early 90s are still safer than teen/early 20-something drivers.
Older adults today are far healthier than in previous generations. Better nutrition, advances in medicine and health care, as well as increased physical and cognitive strengthening techniques have helped today’s seniors become healthier and stronger. In addition, older drivers adhere strictly to proper driving techniques and tend not to exceed the speed limit – a lesson all other age groups should learn from!
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these experienced drivers also know their limitations. When faced with driving skills that have diminished over time, many older drivers recognize the changes and curtail their driving habits, such as driving at night or in bad weather.
Anne McCartt, Senior Vice President for the Institute, said “This should help ease fears that aging baby boomers are a safety threat.”
So, next time you’re driving past Sedgebrook, a senior living community in Lincolnshire, don’t be afraid of the residents who are going out for a drive. You may even want to greet them by giving them a wave. Don’t be surprised if they don’t wave back though – they know better than to take their hands off the wheel.