“Love you, grandpa, you drive safely now,” you say as you wave him off down the driveway.
“Don’t you worry about me, I’ve been driving 60 years, never had an accident yet,” he replies as he pulls away, narrowly avoiding running over your dog.
Things have changed a lot since your grandfather started driving back in the ‘50s. The roads are far busier than they were then, cars go much faster, and his eyesight and reactions are not as good as they were.
Driving a car enables your grandpa to remain independent as he gets older. Without the car, he would rely on you to bring him the groceries and drive him to the clinic for check-ups. Without his car, he would struggle to maintain an active social life, which helps him stay young, as he puts it.
However, there comes a time when you need to weigh the benefits of your grandpa driving against the risk — the risk to himself and other people. According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 20 older adults die each day in car crashes, and 700 are injured.
You can help your grandad by making sure he has his eyesight checked regularly and making sure he wears his glasses when driving. You can help him find routes that avoid busy junctions or fast roads. Timing appointments to prevent him from driving in the busiest part of the day can also help keep him safe.
Your grandpa is not the only elderly driver on the road; the CDC found there were 44 million over-65s still driving. While people do not suddenly become bad drivers when they hit 65 years old, it only takes one older driver who did not see you, to cause a car accident.