Tuesday, June 16, 2009
They Can't Hear You Anyway
Ever get pissed at an older driver? Maybe mutter under your breath? Or curse out loud? Or shoot them the bird? Most of us, when younger, think older drivers are slow, unsafe and a menace on the road. Turns out we're full of shit.
There are approximately 202.8 million drivers on American roads and of that number more than 20 million are 70 or older. And that number is growing fast. Actually, the number of drivers above 80 is growing at the fastest pace of all, up 52% since 1997. But guess what? Even with the increased numbers, older drivers are in fewer accidents than they were 10 years ago. In fact, 16% fewer older drivers were involved in fatal accidents in 2006 than in 1997, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The percentage of older drivers in accidents involving injury dropped even more over the same time period, by 19%.
Traffic and safety experts think the decrease is a combination of safer cars, wider use of seat belts and older drivers being in generally better health than past generations.
So the next time some old codger in front of you slows to a snail's pace to turn a corner, or creeps along at 45 in the fast lane, or has their turn signal on for 20 miles, just keep in mind that he or she is just being safe. Take a deep breath and relax. That will be you one day.