Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Learning to Drive Safe at the Senior Center

Nebraska State Troop Bybee gave a power point presentation on safe driving at the Exeter Senior Center on Tuesday.

Trooper Bybee gave the Exeter Senior Center presentation to encourage older drivers to be aware of changes in their behavior and how it affects their driving habits.

"The only thing worse than getting older is not getting older," was the theme of the powerpoint presentation give by Nebraska State Trooper Randy Bybee at the Exeter Senior Center.
He shared humorous pictures and real life stories to help make the point about the changes that seniors nationwide face as they age and how it relates to driving.
He noted that at the end of last year over 156,942 Nebraskan's age 70 and older still maintain a valid driver's license and 7,368 of those are 90 and older.
The presentation, designed by AAA, recognized the difference in road conditions and cars from when many of those 65 and up learned to drive.
Helping to identify where changes in a senior citizen take place and how it affects their driving was the goal of the presentation. Most problems, like with comprehension errors cause a problem when the reaction time of seniors becomes slower.
Trooper Bybee noted that there are some areas that senior citizens excel in as drivers, such as wearing seatbelts more often, less aggressive driving, less likely to drink and drive and also limiting driving at night or during bad weather.
He asked the crowd of twenty if they text while they drive, but none did. He did state that "talking on your cell phone or texting while driving is like having two alcoholic drinks and then driving."
Also on the positive side for seniors, are the experience they have gained through years of driving along with their responsibility, their adaptability and their habits of planning their travels.
However, there is a high incidence of accidents involving mature driving especially when turning left or responding properly to road signs.
Trooper Bybee noted that most often vision is affected by age, which in turn causes problems with driving. Reaction time is most notable, it increases by almost 40 percent between the ages of 35 and 65.
As solutions to some of the vision issues, Trooper Bybee encouraged the seniors to keep their headlights, windshield and wiper blades clean and make some simple adjustments to their regular driving habits to help with awareness. Most of the changes were simple items like scanning ahead farther and increasing following distances. He also mentioned eliminating left turns and backing situations.
To close Trooper Bybee mentioned several warning signs of driver's who might need to stop driving like hitting curbs, scratches or dents on the car or failure to notice signs. He also mentioned a few safety tips like removing handicapped signs hanging on rear view mirrors which can cause a blind spot, and also gave the seniors ideas for setting mirrors and holding the steering wheel.
Before leaving Trooper Bybee mentioned that he had left a driving DVD with Brenda Motis, program manager at Fillmore County Senior Services, which drivers can check out to test their own driving skills. There were also flyers for drivers to look over and one to help children evaluate their parents as senior drivers.

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