The number of older drivers will increase 70 percent over the next two decades, and crash rates for drivers age 65 and older are higher than any age group except for teens. These factors could mean up to 100,000 older driver deaths from now until 2028.
Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, December 6-10, is a good time to ensure older adults maintain the freedom and confidence that comes with driving, but do so safely. The American Occupational Therapy Association sponsors the week to give resources to adult children and others who care about older drivers.
Discussing driving issues with an older adult can be difficult. A 2008 survey by Caring.com and NSC found adult children would rather talk to parents about funeral plans than about taking away the car keys. The survey also indicated a desire for more resources to help older drivers’ safety on the roadways.
To make the conversation easier, try these tips:
- Take several drives with the older driver at the wheel and observe his/her driving with an open mind.
- Notice whether the older driver is reluctant to drive.
- Watch for slowed reaction time.
- Notice the older driver’s awareness of the driving environment.
- Check the vehicle for signs of damage when the older driver is not with you.
- Check with trusted friends and neighbors about his/her driving.
Your state may have restrictions on older drivers. Learn more at Caring.com. NSC Defensive Driving Courses are another resource for aging drivers.