Drivers deal with any number of potential hazards on the road every day. From potholes to animals attempting to cross the street, just about anything can impact the safety of your daily commute.
In order to keep themselves safe, people often engage in risk management by avoiding situations that could be dangerous. People also learn to look for drivers who could pose more risk than others.
Many times, people focus their driving criticism on new drivers and teenagers. While it is true that teenagers have a higher risk of a crash than other adults on the road, they are not the only ones with a statistically significant increase in risk. Adults over a certain age also pose significant risk of a collision.
Aging affects many critical functions
Getting older can result in many different complications for adults. Problems with eyesight are common, as are issues with hearing. Aging adults can also experience problems with manual dexterity due to arthritis or other issues in their joints. Beyond that, senior citizens often have a longer response time than younger adults.
Even if they do not have a condition that results in degenerative cognitive function, it is still possible for seniors to require more time to respond to sudden stimuli in their environment. Combine that with the potential for confusion, and it is a perfect recipe for a serious collision.
Based on miles traveled, adults age 75 or older have an increased risk of a fatal crash. That risk rises even more after the age of 80. Medical issues associated with aging also make older drivers 17 times more likely to die in a crash than those age 64 or younger.
Pay attention to older drivers who are near you on the road
Being aware of conditions on the road is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of a crash. Watching out for people who are visibly texting, arguing with other people in their vehicle or swerving in a way that implies they are impaired can help you stay safe.
Just like you want to leave a respectful distance between your vehicle and the vehicle of a teenage driver, so should you give extra space to senior drivers. This is especially true if they are driving well below the speed limit, maneuvering their vehicle in a jerky manner or otherwise driving in a way that indicates they may struggle to control their vehicle.
While not every senior citizen has medical conditions that can impact their ability to drive, many still pose more risk than the average adult. Stay safe by paying attention to who drives near you and how they handle their vehicles.