When it comes to our senior citizens, we must do all that we can to honor and cherish them. Unfortunately, we don't always do that. Just about on a daily basis I hear someone, especially our younger citizens, complaining about some of the things our senior citizens do or don't do. The No. 1 complaint usually pertains to senior citizens' driving poorly. I also must admit that I've seen virtually every age group driving poorly or in an unsafe manner at times as well.
For whatever reasons, our senior citizen drivers have become easy targets for ridicule and misconceptions when it comes to their behind-the-wheel habits. It is true that on occasion you will see a silver-haired senior citizen driving with total disregard for anyone else on the roadway. They may seem to be oblivious to anyone else on the road and drive as if to be saying, "This is my roadway, and I've earned the right to drive like I want to and when I want to." However, this is also true of other driving age groups. The biggest complaint about senior citizen drivers is that they drive too slowly or way below the posted speed limit. This is simply not true for the most part. As I've mentioned before in previous columns, you will find on occasion a senior citizen driving below the posted speed limit, above the posted speed limit or in a totally carefree manner. Which brings me to my next point - how often do you as a driver or driving critic really take time to see who creates the most distress on our roadways and highways?
If you really watch and document on a daily basis the habits of all drivers, you will see that the majority of poor drivers are middle-aged and not senior citizen drivers. You will also see that the No. 1 traffic violation or cause for traffic accidents is distractions. It is true that as we age our vision, reaction time and motor skills do slow down; it's also true that as we age we tend to become more patient, thus not driving as fast as we used to or within the posted speed limit. Patience is something that most of us lack at times during our daily driving routines.
My reason for writing this column is not to offend or protect any age group but to say that we are all guilty of poor driving techniques at times. When we look in the mirror and honestly admit to our own poor driving habits, we will see that we can all do a better job of driving and sharing our roadways.
Our senior citizens may do things a little differently, and they may make a mistake every now and then, but they are no guiltier of committing traffic offenses than any other age group. We must be patient and more understanding when it comes to our senior citizens and their needs.
In closing, try a little tenderness, patience and understanding when it comes to the needs of our senior citizens - not just when driving, but at all times.