Looking at the statistics:
- 23% of 18-24 years olds crash within six months of passing their driving test.
- 37% of drivers have had a crash by the time they were 21 years of age.
- Although drivers aged 17-19 make up 1.5% of UK licence holders, they are involved in 9% of fatal and serious crashes where they are the driver.
From these, we can see there is a clear indication that shows young drivers are at a higher risk of danger whilst on the roads.
Research shows us that the combination of youth and inexperience is what increases this risk on the road. A driver’s experience allows them to take notice in what is around them quickly and efficiently. There are some hazards that are easy to identify but there are some that are not immediately obvious; it often takes experience to notice these hidden hazards. New drivers tend to lack this experience so are more likely to crash while on the road.
Also, a young driver’s youth may be a factor that increases their risk on the road. When young people learn to drive, they tend to pick up the skills quite quickly. This, unfortunately, can sometimes lead to overconfidence in their ability. When drivers are overconfident, they take more chances on the road. Those who are overconfident in their skills are more likely to crash in their first two years of driving than someone who is more insecure.
Research shows that drivers aged 60 or over are no more likely to be involved in crashes than other drivers which is a large difference to youth drivers. It is more likely that older people will take less risks while driving. Some may lack the ability to multi-task so they definitely wouldn’t attempt to do something else while driving.
Older drivers can be at risk due to age-related problems such as deteriorating eyesight or hearing as well as slower reaction times and movement. Stiffness in muscles will affect how quickly a driver can check for hazards while reversing or checking blind spots. Loss of eyesight and hearing means a loss in hazard awareness.
So Young Or Old?
There are a lot of factors that can affect each age group’s skills behind the wheel and the risk they have of crashing while driving. Where young people have mental factors, older drivers are hindered by the physical.
Although these age groups cover a portion of the crashes that we have every year, there are still a lot of crashes that can be attributed to those drivers between 30 and 60 years old. We cannot simply blame driving ability purely on age difference. Where my brother lacks experience, my mum has to wear glasses every day. Their driving skill may be better than each other in some places, but they both can lack in others.
Driving should be safe for everyone, whether we are a driver or a passenger. We can take precautions to make sure our roads are safe and that we reduce the risk we have on the road; making the roads safe for all.