Transportation is one of the most requested Village services nationwide—in particular, transportation to night events, during bad weather, and when heavy traffic or freeway driving is the only option. What this suggests—and is confirmed by this report from AAA—is that many older adults who still drive voluntarily avoid high-risk driving situations:
“Helping to dispel the all-too-common myth that seniors are dangerous drivers, AAA’s survey indicates that motorists age 65 and older often “self-police” their driving or avoid driving situations that put them at greater risk of a crash. In fact, 80 percent of senior drivers voluntarily avoid one or more high-risk driving situations. More than half (61 percent) of these drivers avoid driving in bad weather; 50 percent avoid night driving; 42 percent avert trips in heavy traffic and 37 percent avoid unfamiliar roads.”
Obviously, this is a good thing. But how do you know when that’s not enough and it’s time to give up the car altogether? Apparently AAA has some online resources and educational programs that can help with making that decision:
AAA offers helpful resources for older adults and their families—working to support them as they tackle the challenge of balancing safety and mobility. SeniorDriving.AAA.com provides convenient, online access to a wealth of interactive material and AAA’s Senior Driver Safety Expos offer a local hands-on opportunity to sample AAA’s suite of free tools and programs including:
· AAA Roadwise Review – A computer-based screening tool that allows older drivers to measure changes in their functional abilities scientifically linked to crash risk.
· CarFit – A community-based program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them for maximum comfort and safety.
· Smart Features for Mature Drivers – A guide to help identify vehicle features that can assist drivers with the visual, physical and mental changes that are frequently encountered as they age.”
When the time to give up driving finally comes, I think being a member of a Village can make all the difference in how much of a hardship this turns out to be.
Why? Because, unless you’re on a major transportation line or a live in a highly walkable neighborhood with all the amenities close by, fear of losing mobility can make you hold onto the car keys longer than you should. But if you’re a member of a Village, the Village office will not only know all the free/low-cost transportation options available and be able to help you access them, they will also have village transportation volunteers to help fill the gaps and ensure you can get where you need to go. So less stress, less hardship, less loss.