There’s a lot made over “generation gaps” between the ways people do things, but what about the way that they drive? Older drivers tend to think that young drivers are the biggest hazard on the road, while young drivers sometimes complain that their driver’s licenses should have an upper age limit.
So, who is right? Neither of them. Statistically speaking, teenage drivers are in the highest risk category, but senior drivers really aren’t much safer.
What’s the story with teen drivers?
Per miles driven, teens between 16 and 19 years of age are three times more likely to end up in a fatal wreck than drivers 20 years of age and older — and male teens are twice as likely to be in a fatal crash than female teens.
Not surprisingly, crash risks are highest for teens during the first few months after they obtain their license. Part of this could be attributed to the exuberance of their newfound freedom on the road (which could lead to risky behavior), but it’s mostly because they’re simply inexperienced. They don’t know how to anticipate danger in the same way that a seasoned driver might.
What’s the deal with senior drivers?
Statistically, more seniors (those 65 years of age and older) are likely to be injured or killed in wrecks than teens — but that’s also because the U.S. population is rather top-heavy with seniors in the first place. There are simply more older drivers out there with each passing year. They also drive more often and for longer distances than most teens.
Generally speaking, senior drivers do tend to be more cautious and safety-minded than their younger peers — but they also struggle with age-related problems that can make them accident prone. Hearing problems can make it difficult for them to notice approaching emergency vehicles, and night blindness is very common among older people. Plus, they may fatigue faster and have slower reaction times than their younger counterparts.
What’s the takeaway from all this? Nobody is perfect. Both sets of drivers need to remember their limits when they’re behind the wheel of a car and behave accordingly.
No matter what your age, if you’re injured in a wreck, make sure you take appropriate action to protect your right to compensation for your losses.