Are you complacent with your driving?
I’ve often written about teen drivers and new drivers that I’ve taught at Young Drivers of Canada. They’re often the types of drivers I take out in the car and share my knowledge with them about safe driving practises. However, the teen drivers and the new drivers may not be the highest risk of drivers who get injured or killed in traffic crashes. What age group do you think is at the most risk?
The latest statistics issued by Transport Canada show that the age group of 45-54 have the highest percentage of drivers killed at 18.4% compared to teen drivers at just 9.6%. Why the huge difference in percentages? Wouldn’t teen drivers, with far less experience and driving knowledge create a higher percentage of driver fatalities than 45-54 year olds? Perhaps, but considering that older drivers tend to drive a lot more than teen drivers, it kind of makes sense. You also need to consider that 45-54 year olds may also drive for their job, thus keeping them on the roads more often than teen drivers.
Other things to consider are passenger deaths. 18.5% of passenger fatalities are 15-19 year olds. Kind of the right age group to have parents aged 45-54, don’t you think? Maybe one of the reasons the deaths for teens are also so high when they are passengers. Perhaps the 15-19 year olds are also passengers to their teenage friends who are driving? As passengers, we tend to put our lives in the hands of the person driving. If that’s the case, why would we want to distract the driver and make it difficult for them to concentrate on their driving, especially if we aren’t that confident in their driving to begin with?
If teens are the highest percentage of passengers killed in vehicle crashes, what age group do you think is in second place? This may surprise you, but seniors 65 and older are a close second at 17.3%. One of the reasons seniors have such a high fatality rate as passengers is what may be a serious injury to others, their age and health often affect whether they survive the crash.
Let’s talk second place for drivers who have lost their lives while driving; 25-34 year old drivers account for 17.1% of driver fatalities. These drivers also have more experience, and possibly more maturity than teen drivers. If that’s the case, why is their fatality percentage so high compared to teenage drivers?
Remember when you first got your driver’s license and you thought you knew how to drive? Have you ever said to yourself that you wished you could learn more about driving than you currently know? I’ve rarely heard that comment from any driver. I’ve often heard drivers make the statement that they know a lot about driving and that they’re good drivers. What often makes someone a good driver is the willingness to always want to improve and increase their driving knowledge and skills. Part of the issue with driver injury and fatalities is these drivers become complacent or content with their current driving skills.
Since most jurisdictions require you to spend just 10 or 12 hours of in-car training, or even less, and some practising between driving lessons, why not try to improve your knowledge and skills each year you drive? Saying and believing you have enough knowledge and skill to drive safely after limited training is, well, foolish. Even professional athletes have coaches. Why not have coaches for driving as well? Continue to increase your driving knowledge and skills and avoid becoming complacent with your abilities by taking professional courses and of course by reading quality driving related articles. Stay sharp with your skills by continuing to learn your craft of driving safely. Your passengers are relying on you to do so.