The rate of fatal car wrecks involving drivers age 85 and older is nine times as high as the rate for drivers age 25 to 69. In fact, drivers older than 65 have one of the highest car accident rates per miles driven, according to smartmotorist.com.
Those numbers are bad, but what is even more distressing is the fact that in the next two decades, the number of elderly drivers (someone age 70 and older) is predicted to triple in the United States. That could lead to a spike of serious injuries or lives lost in car crashes involving older drivers.
This is not meant to be a criticism of older drivers or an indictment against their driving skills. It is just an undeniable fact of life that as we get older, our vision starts to get a little worse and our reaction time slows a bit. These factors make an older driver more susceptible to causing a major car accident.
All of us need to keep a watchful eye over our elderly loved ones and how they are driving. If you notice your loved one is having trouble noticing stop signs, other vehicles on the road, and/or operating the car, it may be time to suggest getting some assistance for transportation.
This can turn into a very awkward conversation, especially if your loved one is “independent minded” and do not want to acknowledge the fact that their driving skills are deteriorating. But having this conversation and taking the steps necessary to keep your loved one safe is far better than letting them continue to drive and potentially hurt themselves, or someone else, in a major car wreck.