It might sound ageist when someone moans about dangerous young drivers or says an older person should have hung up their car keys a long time ago. Yet, evidence suggests that those toward the extremes of driver age pose a greater danger to themselves and others.
Here are some of the reasons why:
Young drivers lack experience
The only way to get driving experience is to drive. Driving around a farmer’s field can help you learn to control the car, but it cannot prepare you for interactions with other road users. Hence, drivers do their real learning on the streets and highways.
When they make beginners mistakes, it can have serious consequences. There is no way around this. All new drivers can do is take additional care and stay well within their reduced limits.
Old age affects driving ability
If you have ever had to shout instead of talk so that an elderly relative can hear you, you understand their hearing is not as good as it once was. Eyesight also deteriorates, which is why you might have to tell them what the label on their medicine says when they cannot find their glasses.
While these incidences can seem comic in everyday life, they can be catastrophic when you speed life up. That is what happens when an older person takes the wheel of a car. Instead of moving around at a few miles per hour, they are moving at speeds of up to 70 mph. Weaknesses in vision and hearing reduce their ability to notice danger.
When they notice it, they will take longer to react because bodies slow as we age. All this increases the risk they crash. What’s more, as bones and defense systems weaken with age, they could suffer more severe injuries than someone younger and find it harder to recover.
If your child or elderly parent is injured in a car crash, their age may have played a role. Yet you cannot assume they caused it. Seek legal help to understand who was at fault and how to claim compensation.