Sign of the Times: When It’s Time to Stop Driving

 

AAA gives tips to recognize Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

Phoenix, Dec. 2, 2013. Older Americans report that one of the hardest things to do is to stop driving. In less than a decade, one out of four drivers will be age 65 or older. While the answer may not be cut and dried, AAA Arizona is offering advice in recognition of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, Dec. 2-6.

“Like all of us, seniors fiercely value independence, and being unable to drive reins in some of that,” said Linda Gorman, communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. “Deciding when to give up the car keys is incredibly difficult to do, but it’s a true sign of maturity.”

Last year, 136 drivers ages 55 and older were killed and 7,205 were injured, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. In the same age group, 37 passengers were killed and 1,943 were injured.

As a leader in driver safety, AAA presents five signs when it’s time to give up the keys:

·       Experiencing “counseling” sessions with friends, family and police. Be proactive: Don’t wait until others start coming to you with their concerns. Starting conversations with family, doctors or driving professionals can help. SeniorDriving.AAA.com offers talking points and expert advice to help start. 

·       Getting honked at repeatedly. While nine out of 10 U.S. motorists rate themselves as “excellent” drivers, people often live about 7-10 years beyond their safe driving ability.

·       Getting lost on familiar routes. Everyone has moments of forgetfulness. However, if you’re often getting mixed up while driving to familiar places or needing to call for direction, it might be time to give up the keys.

·       Repeated fender benders or dings. As we age, our reaction time slows down and our vision – especially contrast sensitivity and peripheral vision – decreases. Bumping into cars or other stationary objects also can be a result of slower reaction times.

·       Inability to turn and check blind spots or easily reach the pedals. It’s important that motorists’ minds and bodies remain mobile so they are able to react during situations on the road.

As a go-to source for automotive information, AAA offers three ways to help gauge your abilities:

·       Driver Workshops: Safe Driving for Mature Drivers workshop potentially provides an insurance discount and helps mature drivers plan ahead and learn how aging affects driving, identify ways to preserve driving health, recognize warning signs and explore alternatives for when driving may no longer be a safe option.

·       Skills Assessment. Regularly evaluating your driving skills allows you to recognize and correct possible shortcomings, or make adjustments for inevitable changes. Older drivers can test their skills at home with the Roadwise Review computer-based screening tool. Available for purchase on CD-ROM or free online, this program measures eight functional abilities scientifically linked to crash risk amongst older drivers.

·       Driver Profiles: AAA offers CarFit, a free personalized assessment that offers mature drivers the opportunity check how well their personal vehicle “fits” them.

To learn more about these resources, go to www.az.aaa.com/news/traffic-safety.

AAA is an advocate for the safety and security for the motoring public. For more information on the club’s advocacy efforts, visit AAA.com.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.