Senior citizens from all over Delaware County came out to AAA’s “Senior Safety Day” at SourcePoint Thursday.
The program was created to provide seniors with all the resources they need to face senior mobility challenges.
The event had several traffic safety tip seminars led by officers and troopers of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Delaware County Sheriff’s canine unit and Delaware Police Department, as well as talks from Delaware General Health District, Ohio Health and Drug-Free Delaware about other safety issues, such as car seat safety for grandchildren and the effects of prescription drugs.
Byers Ford and Chesrown Chevrolet Buick GMC Inc. brought out some of their newer models in order to demonstrate safety features in 2017 vehicles.
Seniors got a chance to ask all their traffic safety questions as well as try out some helpful simulations. One simulation, where someone sits facing two lights and presses a pedal when the green one glows, tested their brake reaction time and showed them how fast they need to be to drive safely. They also had several types of vision impairment goggles that simulated different conditions, such as inclement weather or inebriation.
“We want to help them drive safer for a longer period of time,” said Mary Lou Gallimore, AAA’s manager of traffic safety programs and coordinator of the event. “People think seniors shouldn’t be driving, but you can see they are all very active and we just want to help them stay that way.”
A major component of the event was the AAA CarFit program that attendees participated in near the end of the event. Seniors sat in their driver’s seats and were guided through a safety checklist that helped them find the safest way to sit and adjust their mirrors.
Participants had their lights and tires checked along with their seat belt fit, visibility, the effectiveness of their seat position and wheel and mirror positioning. The goal was to optimize comfort and safety. By AAA’s standards, a good fit means having a clear line of sight at least three inches above the wheel, a 10-inch distance from the air bag to the breastbone, a seat that fits comfortably and safely with easy access to gas and brake pedals, a head restraint three inches or less from the center of the back of the head, and a properly positioned seat belt fitted away from the neck and over the collar bone and breastbone.
They even had an occupational therapist available to talk to and help those with decreased range of motion or trouble getting in and out of the car. Qualifying drivers were introduced to adaptive devices and safety tools that assist with things like gripping and turning the key or the wheel, seeing over the dash or safely supporting them as they enter or exit a vehicle.
The program was developed by AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association, and was designed to give a quick, yet comprehensive check on how well a mature driver and their vehicle work together.
Morgyn Cooper is an intern for The Gazette.