Telling a loved one you think it’s time they stopped driving might not be an easy conversation, but it could be a vital one.
2022 figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that 8,000 drivers over 65 died in crashes that year. That’s more than every other age group apart from 25 to 34-year-olds. Even the age group that contained inexperienced teenage drivers had over a thousand fewer deaths.
Age makes people more vulnerable to (and in) crashes
It’s no secret that aging makes people more vulnerable to injury. They lose the ability to bounce and recover that youngsters tend to have. While this ability declines gradually as people age it becomes really noticeable around retirement age onward. That’s why you see far more older people with assistive devices, like canes; people get fragile with age, however much they may hate to think so.
It’s not just bone strength and the body’s ability to recover that deteriorates. Things like sight, hearing and reaction time also do. So not only are older adults less likely to survive a crash or recover easily from one, but they are also more likely to make a mistake that leads to one in the first place.
Staying alert and being able to think and react in a split second are crucial skills for drivers. No matter how great a driver your dad once was, if you need to raise your voice so he can hear you and point out that the keys he is looking for are right in front of him, then he’s a potential danger to himself and others when he gets behind the wheel.
It can be hard for someone to accept they are not as capable in some areas as they used to be. Yet, the roads can be dangerous places and drivers must make appropriate decisions to protect the safety of themselves and others – even if that means giving up driving.