NOT Gender, but Age and Driving

The question that often floats around when considering driving abilities is whether men are better drivers than women. However, what many individuals do not consider is a matter equally important with regards to driving ability-the ages of the drivers. I know I have always been concerned with the sexes of the drivers simply because I thought male and female driving styles would be so different. I was looking up the differences when I found studies that show an aspect to driving I never considered. My initial hypothesis when stumbling upon the research was that younger drivers would be more dangerous drivers and get involved in more accidents. What I found somewhat supported my hypothesis, but added another element to it-elderly drivers.

According to multiple studies, a main target group of poor drivers is the teenage population. A John Hopkins study found that, teenage boys start off with 20 percent more crashes per mile than teenage girls. Teenage rates of crashes reach much higher than those who are middle aged drivers and “mile for mile the crash rate for drivers ages 16 and 17, for example, is almost nine times as high as that for middle-aged drivers.” Teenage drivers are not only new to the activity, but their learning experience while their brains are developing may prevent them from assessing risks on the road as effectively as middle aged drivers.

Another group that has been found to have even more cases of crashes and an overall poorer driving ability includes individuals over the age of 65. A Perdue University study reveals that “ older men and women are much more likely to die from traffic injuries than younger persons, regardless of gender. Older drivers often drive shorter distances or less frequently which are considered factors that could affect driving ability. The CDC has evidence that supports the hypothesis that elderly drivers are often worse drivers than teenagers or middle aged adults. According to the CDC, “5,560 older adults were killed and more than 214,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. This amounts to 15 older adults killed and 586 injured in crashes on average every day.” As individuals become older, they have decreased mobility and are often more at risk for health complications while doing any sort of motor activity. Also, aging affects individuals’ visions, which can hinder driving skills in that threats on the road are not as easily spotted and avoided by older drivers. Health elements such as those are what further contribute to the idea that older drivers are more likely to get into crashes-which constitutes poor driving abilities.

Driving Rates

The studies have helped me to realize who to pay special attention to while out on the road. Overall, the effects of these groups of drivers in particular are more relevant when it comes to better driving abilities than the divide seen between men and women.




2 thoughts on “NOT Gender, but Age and Driving

  1. Stephanie Ann Loesch

    This blog is great because it contradicts almost all of the common perceptions behind driving. I am glad there is no actual proof women drivers are worse than men as I, myself am a woman. It was interesting to me that teenage boys start off with 20% more crashes per mile than teenage girls. What really shocked me, however, was that people aged 65 and above were found to be in the most crashes. Everyone is so quick to blame teenagers as they are seen are reckless and immature. People often forget how dangerous it is for the elderly to drive due to the backlash of comments there are about teenage driving. I find that older people are often driving much too slow and are then tailgated as a result. I would assume this phenomenon leads to fender benders. In addition, older people tend to have worse vision, as is mentioned in this post. The jokes about poor driving should honestly be on the shoulders of the elderly and a majority of those retired.

  2. Hannah Rose Papa

    This blog topic has always been a thought of mine as I use to always say that older adults should have to retake their drivers test. Every time I would get in the car with my grandma, I would be scared for my life. Even driving for such a long time and having such experience, older individuals tend to lose the skill to drive and cause even more accidents.

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