Why are old people such bad drivers

Many people believe: Seniors behind the wheel are a danger. In fact, the risk of a road accident for seniors has increased by 28% since 1980. However, this is due to the fact that more and more people are still mobile at an advanced age. Especially in rural regions, older people are increasingly dependent on their own car. Because because of the demographic change More and more young people are moving out of the villages, while older people are staying behind. Important contact points such as doctors are no longer available or are more and more difficult to reach. Many see the car as the only way to stay mobile.

Contrary to popular belief, senior citizens at the wheel are not the main risk group in traffic accidents. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the 18 to 24-year-olds are considered particularly at risk: in 2016, 1,041 young people out of 100,000 inhabitants had an accident. That more than doubles the average for the entire population. In the case of senior citizens, however, the number is only 295.

The reason: Young drivers are often inexperienced, but at the same time willing to take risks. Seniors, on the other hand, can look back on years of driving experience. They compensate for limitations in perception through prudent behavior. This is also shown by the statistics: Only very rarely do seniors commit traffic offenses such as driving at excessive speed, drinking and driving or daring overtaking actions.

However, if older drivers are involved in car accidents, they have a comparatively high risk of succumbing to their injuries. Because they are no longer so resilient because muscle tissue, bones and joints break down with age. Perception in traffic is also increasingly impaired. According to statistics, 67% of people over the age of 64 are primarily to blame if they were involved in car accidents. That is why many insurance companies now require a surcharge for seniors.

One thing is certain: the proportion of older drivers continues to rise due to demographic change. Disqualifying senior citizens from driving is not a solution. Instead, the needs of older drivers must be addressed more intensively. This guide is intended to contribute to this.