Seniors learn safety on roads

CHAMPION — Senior Outreach Citizens help older motorists make needed concessions with the program “A Safe Drive Through the Aging Process.”

Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Phil Robinson and Matt Gurwell, a former trooper and CEO with Keeping Us Safe, met with more than 40 residents on adjustments seniors need to make with their driving behaviors.

Gurwell said people often outlive their “safe driving age.” But changes can be made to extend the safe driving age

Robinson said, “Everyone talks about teen drivers. There is one group that is often forgotten, which is the mature drivers who often need to go through driver’s training again.”

Robinson said that age group 55 and older is involved in 37 to 40 percent of accidents and one-third of the accidents and crashes are fatal.

Gurwell, of Mentor, said that while teen drivers get into many accidents, drivers 70 and older are three times more likely to die in a fatal crash and those 85 and older are nine times more likely to be killed in a crash.

This is a reason why, he said, that many older drivers stop driving at night, because their vision and reflexes diminish. Gurwell said to continue driving safely, self-awareness is important.

He said while younger drivers are more likely to be texting and on cellphones there are still older adults who do the same thing.

Resident Sue Stingel said it concerns her when she sees people of all ages using the cellphones for maps, which is distracted driving.

Several residents at the event said they are concerned when someone tailgates them. Robinson recommended that they let the tailgating driver to pass.

Others said they are concerned that the front lights of cars don’t often shine far enough ahead, which Robinson said newer cars have brighter lights to create more lighted distance.

Robinson said he does make recommendation to drivers to get their driver’s license updated

“There comes a time when people need to step away from driving,” Gurwell said. “We are living longer but our driving skills aren’t keeping up.”

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