Effort to increase safety among senior drivers

Effort to increase safety among senior drivers
A senior citizen's hands on the steering wheel.

SARASOTA (WWSB) - As people age, some of their senses like sight and hearing may diminish. They still need to get out to work or shop. Thus, the reason for “Older Driver Safety Awareness Week," which runs December 3-7.

“I think most of the senior citizens that drive are aware of the fact they’re not as sharp as they once were,” said David Coe, a 75-year-old driver.

Coe is from Great Britain, and spent most of his life riding a motorcycle. he only started driving four wheels in his 60′s when he moved to the U.S.

“You do need a vehicle if you wish to go downtown or to a restaurant or anywhere really,” explained Coe.

While some of his friends in their 80′s and 90′s are still on the roads, He admits some find themselves disoriented while driving, with a slower response time and the inability to multi-task. They blame the inevitable: age.

“Your eyes are not sharp you don’t hear as well but hopefully you compensate,” said Coe.

“I’m definitely more cautious at night time,” stated Coe’s wife Donna Gannon.

Doctors at Sarasota Memorial Hospital say most older drivers are safe drivers but the changes that come with aging often require adjustments and concentration on the road.

“Pay attention to the road signs, markings on the road, people around me,” suggests Gannon.

If you’re a senior driver, the American Occupational Therapy Association suggests anticipating changes that affect driving, address road safety with relatives, and take part in a driving fitness evaluation.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital has a program in Sarasota County, which helps determine a senior’s strengths and weaknesses, making sure they’re safe while driving.

“I watch my side and my back and forward and I feel like i’m a very conscientious driver,” said Gannon.

Coe is proud of his clean driving record. While he vows to let his wife take over the steering wheel if his health declines, he enjoys the freedom of getting from point a to point b with little effort.

“When you have one foot in the grave, it’s one of the few pleasures you still have,” joked Coe.

Visit Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s website for more information on how to sign up for a driving fitness evaluation or driving rehab course.

Copyright 2018 WWSB. All rights reserved.