AAA launches website for senior drivers
By 2020 -- eight years from now -- nearly one in six people will be 65 or older; and most will still be licensed to drive. As 10,000 Americans turn 65 daily, AAA Southern New England and other AAA clubs nationwide are helping aging drivers cope with life-changing transitions with expert advice and easy-to-find resources.
One of the newest resources is a new national website, seniordriving.aaa.com, which provides convenient, online access to a wealth of interactive material. There, mature drivers can obtain tools to evaluate their driving ability and improve their skills. Family and friends also will benefit: they'll learn how to recognize signs of concern, and how to have the sometimes challenging conversation with their older driver in a positive and respectful way.
"Driving is an important part of an active, rewarding lifestyle, which is why most older adults want to drive as long as safely possible," Fran Mayko, AAA Southern New England's public affairs coordinator, said. "AAA is dedicated to keeping seniors driving for as long as safely possible, and SeniorDriving.AAA.com has the tools to help both drivers and the people who care about them."
AAA continues to provide expert advice and helpful resources for older adults, their families and caregivers as they tackle the challenge of balancing safety and mobility. A recent National AAA survey reports nearly half of American senior drivers worry about losing their freedom and mobility when it's time to give up the car keys. Concerned by a loss of mobility, nearly 90 percent of senior drivers also indicate the inability to drive would be a problem.
"No matter how active and healthy seniors are today, it's evident that anxiety about giving up the keys is a top concern," Mayko said.
AAA's survey also indicated that motorists age 65 and older often "self police" their driving by avoiding driving situations that put them at greater risk of a crash. For example, 80 percent of senior drivers say they voluntarily avoid one or more high risk driving situations. More than half (61 percent) avoid driving in bad weather; 50 percent avoid night driving; 42 percent avert trips in heavy traffic and 37 percent avoid unfamiliar roads.
To help senior drivers maintain or refresh their driving skills, AAA Southern New England offers a free driving improvement program that reviews the basics of defensive driving and updates drivers on current driving practices.
Classes are conducted at the AAA Stamford office; the AAA North Haven Service Center; the Margaret Egan Center, Milford; the Western CT Agency on Aging, Waterbury; the Fairfield Police Department and the Danbury Public Library. Connecticut drivers 60 and older who complete the program qualify for a discount on their auto insurance. To register, call 203-937-2595, ext. 4684.
AAA Southern New England, a nonprofit auto club with 46 offices in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, provides more than three million members with travel, insurance, finance and auto-related services. In CT, territory includes Fairfield, New Haven, and Litchfield Counties.