FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — In less than 10 years, nearly one in six Americans will be 65 or older. Most will still be licensed to drive. And with some 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, safe driving by elderly persons can depend on advice and resources.
“Driving is an important part of an active, rewarding lifestyle, which is why most older adults want to drive as long as safely possible,” said Fran Mayko of AAA Southern New England.
The nation, says Mayko, is facing what she calls a “silver tsunami” of older drivers. A recent AAA survey states that 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 that loss of mobility, nearly 90 percent of senior drivers 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,” said Mayko.
AAA’s survey also says drivers over 65 often “self police” their driving by avoiding 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," Mayko said. "More than half 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, which reviews the basics of defensive driving and updates drivers on current driving practices.
For more information, call 203-937-2595, ext. 4684.