As a group, seniors generally practice safe driving behaviors: they’re more likely to wear seat belts and less likely to speed or drive while under the influence of alcohol. However, despite these commendable driving habits, seniors are at greater risk than most age groups of being seriously injured while driving.
According to the American Automobile Association, drivers age 85 and older are injured or killed in crashes at a higher rate than any other age group. Additionally, they’re at higher risk of having a serious collision per mile driven that any other age group except drivers under 25. Because of the fragility that comes with age, seniors aren’t as able to withstand a crash. They are more likely to be injured than younger, stronger individuals and they don’t recover as quickly from injuries.
As an activity director, if you work with seniors who still drive, you can promote their safety and well-being by helping educate them on safe driving practices. Many resources and classes are available to help seniors understand how they can deal with aging and continue to drive safely. This can include helping them understand how to manage disabilities appropriately while driving.
One excellent resource is CarFit, an organization that helps seniors be sure that their vehicle settings are optimized for the safest driving experience. Organize a CarFit event in your area, and volunteers will examine your seniors’ cars with them and help them adjust elements such as mirrors, the steering wheel, and seats for optimum ergonomics and safety. By eliminating problems such as blind spots and the tendency among seniors to sit too close to the wheel, these changes contribute not only to the safety of seniors, but of everyone else on the road.
How do you help promote safe driving with your senior population?