According to statistics from the Maryland State Police, injuries from automobile accidents are the leading cause of death in drivers age 65 to 74 years old in Maryland. A recent workshop at the Grasonville Senior Center may have helped save a few more precious lives.
“The inability to see blind spots, coping with road changes and medications all have an impact on mature drivers,” said Terry Ober, Community Traffic Safety Program Coordinator for Queen Anne’s and Kent counties.
Ober coordinated the Seniors on the Move workshop on June 2 and 3 at the center and advised drivers to become wiser as they age.
Ober said seniors need to be especially alert for changes in roadways and road signs and to pay special attention when driving in dusk. “Eyesight is one of the first things to change in mature adults and we need more light as we age,” he said.
The workshop also included a seminar from pharmacist Trish Draper, who urged seniors to think about their medications and the effect they have on their mental and physical condition before getting behind the wheel.
“It’s important to think about what you’ve been taking…keep a medical diary or a record, not only for yourself but for your doctors and other family members,” said Draper. Sun exposure and some foods taken with medicine may also be a hindrance to driving, she said.
Health Department representatives Vicki Quimby and Robin Kinkaid talked about the importance of car safety seats for grandchildren who may be in the car more often now that summer is in full swing and kids are out of school.
Qumby said the older generation is very conscientious about wearing seat belts; 81 percent of seniors aged 70 and older wear seat belts; and it’s just as important for them to know how to correctly install a child safety seat.
The workshop also included a presentation from Myra Wieman from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.