As a firm believer in safe driving, Suzie became concerned as I continued to drive into my 70s and 80s, fearful that my driving abilities would be compromised. Are you concerned about your own mother or father’s driving abilities as they get older? Although in Pennsylvania there are no special older driver’s license renewal laws, there are still plentiful resources Suzie found that assist older drivers like myself, while alleviating the anxiety of our worried families.
Check to Prevent a Wreck
Older individuals can assess our driving abilities through tools on the web provided by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Suzie encouraged me to visit seniordrivers.org and download “Roadside Review” to test if my physical and mental abilities necessary for operating a vehicle were up to par. I also found this online self survey provided by AAA, called “Drivers 55-Plus Self Rating Quiz,” which gave me a realistic glimpse into my own abilities on the road.
In addition to the specific driving assessments online, Suzie insisted I get my vision checked yearly and ask my doctors if any medications I take impair my ability to operate a vehicle.
Test and Assess
A driver refresher course is an even more concrete and direct way for us older drivers to check our skills. Contact your local AAA or AARP to find a class near you. One of my friends enrolled in a class, and not only did she increase her safety on the road, but she also earned a discount on her auto insurance!
A more expensive, but more thorough, option is a professional assessment. A driver rehabilitation specialist evaluates the driver’s skills and makes recommendations based on the assessment and the driver’s needs. Contact the Association of Driver Rehabilitation Specialists or the American Occupational Therapy Association to find a professional.
Turning in the Keys
A year ago, when I finally did reach the point when driving was no longer safe nor possible, Suzie kept me positive by informing me of all my other transportation options. She found this information about other means of transportation through The Area Agency on Aging’s Southwestern Pennsylvania site.
Though Pennsylvania does not have laws in place to check and assess older driver’s abilities, there are still numerous ways for concerned family members and friends to ensure their loved ones are driving safely. Though it was a tender and sensitive subject for me, Suzie helped me realize my driving abilities directly affected everyone else on the road. Use Suzie and my example to talk to your loved ones today about the importance of driver safety.