Losing driving privileges as a teen is simply a bummer. Losing driving privileges as an mature adult is frightening.
“We’re trying to keep our mature drivers driving for as long as possible and as safely as possible,” said Kimberly Schwind, AAA spokesperson. “AAA has done studies and found there are dramatic effects when you take away somebody’s keys.”
Schwind said when somebody loses their ability to be mobile and independent they could slip into depression.
SourcePoint hosted an AAA mature driver workshop Thursday to help educate seniors about staying safe behind the wheel.
Seniors began the seminar in the SourcePoint parking lot getting fitted properly at the right distance and height behind the wheel of a vehicle. Inside they had a chance to check their braking reaction times with an electronic device provided by AAA.
“As we age our reaction time slows,” Schwind said. “You need to give yourself a little more following distance on the roadway so there is more time to react.”
Schwind said AAA has conducted the workshop for many years. In the past she said the workshops were several hours long and included lunch. She said the small group format Thursday at SourcePoint was a first.
“We thought it would be fun to have smaller groups that rotate every 15 minutes between stations,” Schwind said. “It’s more hands on, a one-on-one conversation with the smaller groups where people are more likely to ask questions.”
Schwind said people seem to get more out of the workshop with the smaller groups.
Thirty people registered for the seminar which Schwind said was pretty typical. She said about 25 did show up but the rain must of some away.
“It’s like when you plan for your retirement from work,” Schwind said. “This is planning for your retirement from driving when you have to give up the keys.”
Chris Davis said she attended the workshop because she thought it was a wonderful idea. She said the one takeaway she was looking for was, “I want to make sure I’m still safe to be on the road.”
Davis said she was also looking for insights for her 78-year-old mother’s safety as well.
One other option for mature adults is to ride public transportation.
“We’re a good option for those seniors who can no longer drive themselves,” said Ginny Berry, Delaware Area Transit Agency marketing and community relations director. “Bus routes have recently changed. We’ve added a lot more stops in the Polaris area and we’ve added more stops in Delaware in the industrial park.”
“They can go on Saturdays to go shopping on our Green Route,” she said. “We’ve never had a Green Route; it’s new and exciting.”
Berry said SourePoint has partnered with DATA Bus sponsoring eight trips a month at $4 each way to go anywhere in Delaware County. She said two of the trips can be outside the county if needed.
“We go out of county for medical facilities,” Berry said. “It’s important to seniors who can’t drive anymore.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.