As we age, the road of life takes on new twists and turns. One aspect that becomes increasingly important is road safety. We all age differently, and the ability to drive should never be judged on age alone, however physical and cognitive changes that happen as we age need to be considered to stay safe. Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is a reminder to prioritize the safety and well-being of older drivers. It is crucial to take necessary measures and precautions to ensure their safety on the road.
Older Driver Safety Awareness Week typically occurs in the first week of December, when the holiday season is in full swing. This week-long campaign highlights the challenges of older drivers and promotes safe driving practices. Organized by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), this initiative encourages communities, families, and older adults themselves to engage in conversations about maintaining mobility while ensuring road safety.
The number of older drivers is rising and it is vital to address this demographic’s unique needs and challenges to maximize their safety on the road. Recognizing the importance of mobility in maintaining a sense of autonomy, Older Driver Safety Awareness Week seeks to balance this independence with safety considerations.
If you or a loved one is feeling less confident behind the wheel, there are some steps you can take for everyone to stay safe.
- Regular Health Check-ups: Older adults should prioritize regular health check-ups, including eye exams and assessments of cognitive function. Addressing health issues promptly can contribute to safer driving.
- Adaptive Driving Techniques: Embracing adaptive driving techniques and technologies can enhance safety. This may include adjusting driving routes, using assistive devices, or using advanced vehicle safety features.
- Stay Informed About Medications: Certain medications can affect driving abilities. Older drivers should consult with healthcare professionals to understand potential side effects and make informed decisions about when it’s safe to drive.
- Driver Safety Courses: Participating in driver safety courses tailored for older adults can provide valuable insights into updated traffic laws, defensive driving techniques, and tips for navigating complex road scenarios. Attend a virtual CarFit event by clicking here. DMV offers a Mature Driver Course, and AAA provides an online course called Roadwise Driver.
- Open Communication with Family: Open communication with family members about driving concerns is essential. This dialogue can lead to collaborative decision-making about when it might be appropriate to limit or cease driving.
- Keep Moving: No matter your age, staying active helps keep your mind sharp and allows for driving safely for longer.
- Keep public transportation as an option: Greater Mercer TMA can help with our travel training programs. Assisting seniors in becoming more confident using public transportation also helps them be more mobile and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Contact Carol Chamberlain, to request information or register for a travel training event.
- Downloading our mobility guides can also help you or your senior understand how to travel by bus, train, or light rail in Mercer County and Ocean County.
- RideProvide: If you live in Mercer County, check out our RideProvide transportation program, a door-to-door transportation program for seniors 65 and over and visually impaired adults.
Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is a timely reminder to prioritize road safety for older adults. By fostering awareness, encouraging open communication, and promoting proactive measures, we can ensure that the road of life remains a safe and enjoyable journey for everyone, regardless of age. Let’s celebrate the wisdom and experience that older drivers bring to our streets while working together to make them safer for all.