The Peninsula was proud to host an AARP Smart Driver Course on June 10, 2014. The course is the nation’s largest classroom (and online) safety program designed for drivers ages 50 and older.
June’s event was open to both Peninsula residents and the public to empower them to remain safe while driving.
Consider how long ago it was since you took your initial driver’s test! Well, a lot has changed since that time for all of us. The AARP class highlights ways to stay informed in order to stay safe. For example, it allows you to evaluate your current knowledge of driving rules and driving situations.
It also examines driving situations that statistics show to be dangerous, like intersections, passing, right of way and merging. According to AAA.com, senior drivers age 65 and older are over-represented in crashes involving left hand turns.
Class participants also receive instruction on how to best use the newest safety features and technology found in cars today, increasing confidence.
The course also presents an honest discussion of how we ourselves may have changed since we received our driver’s license years ago, like changes in vision, hearing, brain health, reaction time, and strength and endurance. While it can be challenging to acknowledge, honesty with ourselves can ensure our own safety and that of others. Since these changes can occur slowly, it’s important to evaluate them periodically to continue a safe, active lifestyle.
According to AAA.com, senior drivers need more light to see, so driving at night can become a challenge, causing some seniors to limit going out at night. And, as part of the natural aging process, one third of Americans age 65 and over experience hearing loss, affecting their ability to hear high-pitched sounds like emergency vehicle sirens.
Other topics covered include how medications affect driving ability. It is prudent to be aware that two-third of senior drivers age 65 and older take five or more daily medications, affecting their ability to drive safely, says AAA.com.
Perhaps the most important part of the AARP Smart Driver Course is empowering participants to understand the importance of assessing their own driving skills regularly. There are resourceful ways to stay mobile and to have a very independent lifestyle without driving, when it comes time for that decision.
For example, The Peninsula offers scheduled transportation as one of its services to residents, according to Michelle Hertz, resident programing coordinator. Residents are taken to doctor’s appointments, lunch and dinner outings and out shopping, allowing them to retain their independence after the decision has been made to stop driving.
The AARP Smart Driver Course is scheduled at The Peninsula every three months. For more information, call Michelle Hertz at (954) 893-7755.