Getting older doesn’t mean your ability to drive safely has been compromised, but changes people experience as a result of aging can affect driving skills over time. As people age their eyesight and hearing can begin to fade, their reaction times can slow and muscle strength weaken, and suddenly tasks that seemed second nature for their entire adult lives, such as driving, can become much more difficult, even dangerous.
The good news is many of these obstacles for older drivers can be overcome, through education, changing behaviors and habits, and through the use of improved vehicle technology. To help sharpen the driving skills of drivers 50 and older, Cary Medical Center, Pines Health Services and the Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce have teamed together to bring the vast resources of AAA to Aroostook County for a first-of-its-kind, free driver education and engagement event.
“With many folks living longer, more active lives, people are also driving well into their retirement years,” stated Patrick Moody, Manager of Public Affairs for AAA of Northern New England. “While a driver’s license is a privilege, it is also a lifeline for maintaining independence for older adults, especially in rural areas where access to public transportation is more limited, and where people are sometimes required to travel greater distances to attend appointments, obtain services or get groceries. That is why we are so excited to bring these valuable and potentially life-saving resources to people in northern Maine in an effort to help them operate their vehicle safely as they age.”
The AAA Senior Driver Expo at the Fort Fairfield Community Center will be held on May 15th from 9a to 12:00p. The Expo will feature demonstrations, presentations, vision and hearing screenings and interactive displays. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, and Patty Morneault, Director of the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles will be among the featured presenters on hand to provide information and meet with folks. Following the Expo at 12:30p, there will be a screening of the film “Old People Driving”. The short documentary film is about two men in their nineties who are nearing driving retirement. With today’s seniors outliving their ability to drive safely by 7 to 10 years on average, this film will help remind motorists that they need to plan for driving retirement.
The Senior Driver Expo will bring together numerous organizations to provide information about their resources for older drivers, programs they provide for seniors, alternative transportation options, classes for seniors, smart vehicle features for older drivers, brake reaction timers and distracted driving simulators, and AAA’s nationally recognized Roadwise Driver class for those 55 and older and more at no cost to participants.
For more information, contact the Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce at 472-3802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org