‘Keeping the Keys’

Gifford Medical CenterJune 18 talk looks at how to drive safely longer

RANDOLPH – At some point in life, driving may become more challenging or perhaps too challenging. “Keeping the Keys” is a free workshop by AAA that offers tips for safe driving longer. And Gifford Medical Center is bringing the talk to the Randolph area.

AAA Northern New England traffic safety specialist Rayette Hudson of Maine will offer the free workshop on June 18 in the Gifford Conference Center from 5-6:30 p.m.

Gifford Blueprint Project Manager LaRae Francis helped organize the talk. The talk is being held during Safe Driving Month.

The discussion targets drivers ages 50 and over as well as families of aging drivers. Discussed will be adjusting to natural changes in driving ability, keeping driving skills sharp and safe driving as long as possible.

“Everyone ages differently,” notes Francis. “Just because you hit a certain age, it doesn’t mean it’s time to take away your keys. But what are some signs to look for? How do you prolong safe driving? How do you choose a car for a senior?”

According to data from AAA, older drivers are actually among the safest drivers. They’re less likely to speed, less likely to drive after drinking, more likely to wear their seatbelts and avoid high risk driving situations, such as driving at night or in poor weather conditions.

Increasing age, however, is generally associated with a decline in functional abilities, such as vision and reaction time. An increase in medical conditions and consequently the number of medications taken can also both impact driving abilities.

Statistically, older drivers have lower crash rates per miles driven than young drivers. But because of their fragility, drivers age 85 and older are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents.

While the goal of the talk is to keep drivers on the road as long as possible to maintain quality of life and independence, the talk will open the door to discussions on when it is time for some drivers to relinquish the keys, Francis notes.

To join the discussion, register with Zach Bean at the Kingwood Health Center at 728-7100, ext. 6, by June 14.

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