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Older drivers can get tips on how to drive safer and how to stay behind the wheel longer by attending a free seminar on driving safety to be held Sept. 21 at the Palmyra Senior Nutrition Center at 10 a.m.
Beth Koster, MU Health Care outreach coordinator, will be offering the program, Keep Your Keys, to help older drivers with several tips.
“We understand that older drivers are often some of the safest drivers i.e. they have many hours of experience behind the wheel, are more likely to wear their seatbelt and are less likely to text or be impaired while driving,” said Koster. “However, they are more likely to be seriously injured or even killed if they are involved in a crash. Our program is designed to give the seniors tips to keep them safer on our roadways.”
The presentation is approximately 30 minutes in length and the following topics are covered:
• the importance of self-assessing current driving status;
• tips on staying mentally and physically fit to drive. “We know that driving is filled with split second decisions and we want the seniors to stay sharp behind the wheel,” said Koster;
• medications and their possible side effects that may affect driving (dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, etc). Koster said each attendee receives a medication File of Life to help keep track of all medications and all are encouraged to visit with their doctor about their personal medications;
• tips on navigating new roadway constructions (roundabouts, j-turns, and diverging diamonds) and new car technologies
• how to be sure you “fit” your vehicle, including distance you should be from the steering wheel, how seat belts should fit, adjusting rear view mirrors to eliminate blind spots, etc; and
• how to plan for an unexpected need to retire from driving – whether short or long term.
“This presentation is designed to open the communication and keep our seniors safe on our roadways,” said Koster, adding all those in attendance will receive a Keep Your Keys booklet which contains all of the information covered in the presentation.
The Keep Your Keys program began in 2015 with funding from MODOT highway safety and State Farm grants.
The program was created because one of the highest modalities of injury coming in to our trauma center was motor vehicle crashes involving teens and older drivers.
“In 2020, we received funding to take our program statewide,” said Koster. “We have trained 50 facilitators across the state to bring the program to seniors within their communities. It is the only safe driving for seniors program that is completely free in our state.”