By 2020, an estimated one in six people will be 65 or older, and most will be licensed to drive. As maintaining mobility becomes top of mind for these motorists, and in honor of Older Americans Month, AAA is encouraging drivers to get ahead of the curve by taking advantage of available resources.
“As the fastest growing population in the country, a growing number of senior or mature drivers are starting to worry about losing the freedom that driving provides,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona.
In a recent survey, AAA uncovered the following data about senior driver concerns and behaviors:
Nearly 90 percent indicate that the inability to drive would be a problem, with almost half claiming it a serious problem.
About 80 percent of senior drivers voluntarily avoid one or more high-risk driving situations, including bad weather (61 percent), night driving (50 percent), heavy traffic (42 percent) and unfamiliar roads (37 percent).
“While senior drivers will ‘self-police’ to avoid driving situations they are uncomfortable with, many do not know where to turn to address concerns and find resources that can help extend their safe driving years —and that’s where AAA can help,” said Gorman.
As a leading road safety advocate for 110 years, AAA provides resources for older adults and families who face the challenge of balancing safety and mobility. AAA’s suite of tools and programs include:
• DriveSharp A software program that is clinically proven to help drivers see more, react faster, and cut crash risk by up to 50 percent. This program is available for purchase at drivesharpnow.com/az.
• Roadside Review A screening tool that measures physical and mental abilities shown to be the strongest predictors of crash risk among older drivers. The program is available for purchase at aaaazstore.com/pr. A free version is also available online at SeniorDriving.AAA.com.
• Mature Driving Safety Course An online safety course for drivers age 55 years or older that also qualifies for a AAA Insurance discount.
• SeniorDriving.AAA.com. An online source that offers information and tools designed to aid in starting conversations, assessing abilities, and improving the comfort and safety of older drivers.
• CarFit is a free, community-based program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them for maximum comfort and safety.
In addition to these tools and resources, AAA also offers Keeping the Keys, a free workshop that provides mature drivers information and resources essential to staying on the road. Since its inception over four years ago, more than one thousand Arizona seniors have taken advantage of this free workshop, including Phoenix resident Milly Doolin.
“Getting a driving checkup is just as important as getting a wellness checkup with your doctor,” said Doolin, who attended the workshop in order to stay abreast of current driving laws.
To learn more about AAA’s senior resources, call 602-241-2945 in Phoenix, 520-258-0518 in Tucson or email firstname.lastname@example.org.