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How often do you hear of seniors getting in car accidents? I hear of it too often and thanks to the latest efforts by the AARP, there’s help for them. The AARP has decided to offer safety courses to older motorists in an effort to build confidence and keep safe while driving. This initiative came from a 2008 study, showing the 11.1 percent of North Carolina drivers were involved in fatal car wrecks with senior citizens. The 2008 numbers also show that 208 of the 1,878 drivers in North Carolina involved in a fatal crash were 65 and older.

The AARP senior driving course is free for veterans and military dependents during the month of November. This class offers seniors defensive driving skills, including how to compensate for blind spots. Many elderly people who participate in the program feel that the classes are extremely helpful and may prevent them, and other senior drivers, from becoming a statistic. It is so important for elderly people to realize that accidents on the road do increase with age. The functions essential to safe driving also decline with age, such as visual acuity, hearing, and most importantly, reaction time.

The following strategies can help seniors not only cope with the aging challenges of driving but also can provide increased levels of confidence:

  1. Be aware of your own physical limitations. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Today, adjustments to vehicles often overcome age-related handicaps.
  2. Get annual screenings for vision and hearing. Wearing corrective devices will increase individual safety and protect the safety of others on the roadways.
  3. Pay attention to other risks, such as snow storms, fog, ice and threatening weather conditions, especially at night or for travel along unfamiliar roads. Other risks to concentration include eating, drinking and use of a cell phone. Seniors need to focus their full attention on the road.
  4. Always drive the posted speed limit. Driving too fast or too slow is disruptive to traffic and dangerous.
  5. Take a refresher driver safety class. Know the rules of the road, even if this means seemingly tedious review and memorization.

Follow these simple steps to make elderly driving much safer for everyone on the road. For more info on elderly driving, check out this interesting post! >>The Elderly: To Drive or Not to Drive, That is the Question

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