Old People and Things That Go Vroom!

They say, whoever “they” are, that you get wiser as you get older. You’re eyes also start to go, along with the rest of you, proving, perhaps that balance does exist in the universe on some level. But a curious statistic exists, and stereotypes are drawn from it, as stereotypes are wont to do; unless you are middle aged and have been driving a while, you’re rather likely to get in an accident of some sort, and it will likely be your fault. While young drivers are given most of the blame and certainly penalized the most, the elderly as well merit some attention, as well as those in between.

A bell curve of sorts exists; those young drivers, so reckless and unpracticed, in their bright red cars and raging hormones, will get into crashes almost regularly, and older folk will sometimes forget their first days driving and point to immaturity when mishap happens. Ironically perhaps, young drivers grow up to matured middle-aged drivers, cruising around in cars their younger selves thought wasted on those too old to have any fun with.

And they drive generally well, according to that almighty god Statistics. But then Irony lends her hand and Chaos takes it to create the more than mature driver. Many do not fully notice this transition, and certainly many or maybe most older drivers continue to get better with age, as some things are like to do. And they just keep on getting better, that ticket they used to get every year or so for speeding now comes only on every third year, when they forget to use the turn signal, or it plain malfunctions and you’re handed a write up for maintenance.

And life goes on perfectly fine until grandpa drives through farmers’ market. Or grandma doesn’t realize that that speedbump a few moments ago was actually someones stroller, thankfully devoid of its human cargo now crying in mother’s arms. Senses begin to fail and so will memory. Glasses, once needed only for reading, now are all that keep them going on the road, and focusing from near to farther distance is hazardous at best. Hearing may have gone a bit so that growling Harley you once loved to ride, isn’t even noticeable next to you and may become the victim of an accidental sideswipe during the changing of lanes.

Time is a cruel mistress, prone to handing maturity and frailty in the same basket, but not always. Occasionally, she smiles on a favored friend and grants the former without the latter. Just as some young drivers may put their elders to shame with road etiquette and good skills, so may some senior drivers continue driving along with not a mishap, perfectly aware of the road and all they need to be fine drivers.

The most important means of keeping the roads safe is the training of good driving skills, the encouragement of maintaining those skills, and honesty. All relationships at some level need honesty to be maintained and survive, and flourish. The road is no different; it is a common ground to all walks of life, even to those incapable of driving themselves, either to young, or old enough to have surrendered the reigns. Honesty of when that time has come to give them up is important, and should be the first judge of when someone stops, not a law.

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