There are many reasons why senior citizens may drive badly, but seniors who drink and drive really are in a league of their own. With so many stories on this topic coming out every week, it’s a good time to take a look at why it’s so dangerous for seniors to drink and drive.
As you get older your eyesight dims, reflexes aren’t quite as sharp, and mental acuity can become a little muddled. Those motor and mental skills are all vital to staying sharp behind the wheel, so the older you are the more your driving suffers.
Anyone who chooses to drink and drive can get into real trouble, but because of those age-related issues, it becomes even more dangerous for senior citizens. You become more sensitive to alcohol as you age too, and that means if you could drink 3 or 4 beers without feeling drunk in your 40s, that same amount of alcohol can make you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck when you’re in your 70s.
Medication is also a factor for seniors who drink: many take blood pressure medication, pain medication, or heart medication that can interact poorly with alcohol. When mixed, someone who drank 2 glasses of wine, beer, or spirits could feel as though they’ve had 10.
Despite the solid reasoning behind why seniors shouldn’t drink and drive, they’re still doing it. One 71-year-old woman in Newfoundland was recently charged with impaired driving and refusal to submit to a breathalyzer after she struck a parked vehicle around 8:30 pm on night. Thankfully no injuries were reported, and she received a drivers license suspension and summons to appear in court.
She’s not the only one drinking and driving into her twilight years. There have been numerous documented cases of seniors drinking and driving including a 76-year-old California woman who also crashed her car recently and was charged with driving under the influence.
Clearly, age doesn’t improve your driving skills, and if you mix alcohol with declining eyesight and mental sharpness, you’re much more likely to end up in a crash. Seniors should be kicking back and enjoying their retirement, not sitting in a jail cell or hospital bed. Maybe it’s a good time to share this info with a senior in life and remind them that drinking and driving is a bad idea.