Despite certain negative stereotypes, older adults are often skilled and safe drivers because they have decades of experience. Unfortunately, those at or past the age of retirement still have more risk when it comes to crashes, although not how some people might think.

Keeping your license as you age can be a way to ensure your independence, but you will have more risk if you get into a wreck. Adults over a certain age are much more likely to suffer severe injuries or die due to a car crash. The reason for that extra risk may not have the cause that you think it does.

Older adults are more vulnerable to traumatic injuries

One of the problems people experience as they start to age is diminished healing ability. It can be harder for older adults to fight off infections and heal injuries to their bodies. A broken bone that might be a minor inconvenience for someone in their 30s or 40s could mean weeks in the hospital for someone already over the age of retirement.

The older a driver or passenger is, the greater the risk of severe complications after a car crash injury. Those over the age of 75 have a particularly elevated risk of dying due to injuries from a crash. Even those as young as 65 have a higher risk in a collision. In 2018, a quarter of a million people over the age of 65 wound up in emergency rooms because of a crash, while roughly 7,700 died due to a crash.

Longer recovery often means more medical costs

When a bone breaks badly or you suffer another severe injury after a crash, you could be in the hospital for quite some time. Those weeks in the hospital might not necessarily mean that you miss out on wages if you’re over retirement age, but they could mean accumulating substantial medical debt. Additionally, there’s the impact on your independence and quality of life after your recovery to consider.

Older adults severely hurt in car crashes may need to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to an insurance claim if the coverage available does not pay for all of their medical losses.