As the population of the United States continues to increase, so does the number of people over the age of 65. The population of individuals that are 65 and older is expected to increase within the next 20 years, which means that more seniors will be driving on U.S. roads.
With the increase in senior drivers, it is important to understand the risks senior drivers may pose on the road and when to discuss driving abilities with seniors before a car accident happens. Talking about driving skills can be a difficult conversation to have but it is an important one.
When seniors start having problems that affect their driving skills, it may be time to take the keys away. Common concerns for senior drivers include poor eyesight, slow driving and distracted driving.
While many family members admit to being concerned with their parents or grandparents’ driving skills, many do not feel comfortable discussing their concerns, according to a survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance. The survey found that more than 50 percent of baby boomers said they were worried about their parents’ driving. However, many children do not discuss their concerns with their parents. The survey found that one-third of children do not want to discuss the issue at all with their parents.
The fact that many baby boomers are concerned with their parents’ driving skills but fail to discuss their concerns is a serious safety issue. As more seniors continue to drive, the risk of senior drivers being in a car accident will only increase if these issues are not addressed.
Family members concerned about their parents or grandparents driving should discuss their concerns in a respectful way to keep everyone safe on the road. Individuals should discuss other transportation options with seniors to help them maintain their same lifestyle, and be sure to evaluate their driving skills in the future if they continue to drive.
Source: Patriot Ledger, “Auto Bits: Seniors and driving,” Oct. 14, 2013