Senior drivers sometimes have the disadvantage of more fragile bodies and the aging process can affect the way the drive. At Shepherd of the Valley, Lynn Miller, marketing director, said it is understood and now a new AAA program is being hosted just for the senior driver.
Shepherd of the Valley will be hosting CarFit screenings to help seniors ensure their vehicles fit them and to showcase some tools than can make their motoring life better.
“Older drivers are often the safest drivers but they are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash because their aging bodies are more fragile,” said Miller. “A CarFit check can improve their safety through a 12-point safety check to make sure everything is properly adjusted.”
The 12 point screening will cover things such as mirrors, seat belts, seat adjustments and steering wheel distances. Miller said the screening will be overseen by Lori Cook, who is certified through the CarFit program and is a safety instructor for AAA.
The screenings are free and open to senior drivers. Miller said anyone interested should call 330-530-4038, extension 2057 to make a reservation.
“We only have around three hours and therefore can only handle ten vehicles,” Miller said.
She said each screening takes about 20 minutes and includes a vehicle walk around at the end to point out various potential problem areas. The instructor will also inform the senior driver of some of the products that can help make driving safer.
Miller said there are seniors out there who may have experienced changes and not realized it, but have not readjusted their vehicles to compensate.
“As we get older there are physical changes we go through,” Miller said. “One thing is our height. We actually shrink as we age.”
She said a lot of seniors keep their vehicles for 12 to 15 years, but don’t readjust them periodically. Others may be thrown into a situation and could use the help of an expert.
“Women who have lost a husband end up driving his big old boat,” Miller said. “They need to be sure to reset everything to fit their own body.”
Miller said among some of the gadgets that will be shown is a tool that can safely smash a window, cut a seat belt and serve as a handle to assist in exiting the car. Other aids for seniors could include a panoramic mirror or the Lazy Susan seat device that makes getting in and out of a vehicle easier.
She said when Shepherd of the Valley staff found out about the free program earlier this year, they thought it would be a good one to offer the mature drivers in the community. Arrangements were made and the first screening program will take place between 9 a.m. and noon on Sept. 7 at the Poland Shepherd of the Valley, 301 West Western Reserve Road. On Sept. 14 during the same time period, a screening will be held at Shepherd of the Valley Home Health, 5525 Silica Road in Austintown.
Because of the time period, only 10 drivers will be scheduled. Miller said those who want to take part should call and schedule a time as soon as possible. Once a location has filled all the time slots, no more will be accepted.