GLEN BURNIE, MD (December 6, 2021) – As Maryland’s aging population grows, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) is offering a series of safety tips and resources for Older Driver Safety Awareness Week to ensure drivers remain as safe as possible on the road. Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, recognized from December 6-10, 2021, aims to promote the importance of mobility and transportation options for older adults and emphasize the importance of recognizing changes in driving abilities and understanding risk factors.
“Driving is often seen as a form of independence but with that comes high responsibility,”said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “We know that age is not an indication of a driver’sability,but it is so important that motorists plan ahead and understand how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe on the road.”
Onewayolder drivers can remain safe on the road is by understanding the most common crashes involvingolder driversand how to avoid high-risk situations.Safetytipsfor drivers of all agesinclude:
- Always wear a seat belt,and makesure allpassengers in all seats are belted.
- Allowplenty of time and spacewhen crossing trafficlanes,andpay attention to signs and signals.Judging oncoming traffic can bechallenging atintersections andespecially when making left-hand turns.
- Use caution when merging onto higherspeed roads and when changing lanes.
- Useturnsignals and stay alert for cars andpedestrians.
- Always stay in your lane while drivingthrough an intersection.
- Avoid distractions.
- Drive at or near the speed limit. It’s unsafe todrive too fast or tooslow.
- ?Be aware of the risksof drowsy driving from exhaustion, changes in medications or certain medical conditions.Drowsydriving can bejust as dangerous as impaired driving.
MDOT MVA produces a Resource Guide for Aging Drivers that provide detailed information and easy-to-use tools for customers to learn more about aging, health, and driving. To download the resource guide, click here. Stay aware of changes on the roadways, and driving habits, by taking advantage of the many driver refresher courses and self-assessments available.
Additionally, there are several other safety resources drivers can take advantage of to better understand the features available on newer vehicles designed to help prevent crashes and what adjustments can be made within the vehicle to make driving more comfortable. MyCarDoesWhat and CarFit are both programs that ensure a motorist is up to date on the latest education and their vehicle is properly adjusted to them.
If you or a loved one begins to recognize the warning signs for diminished driving capacity, have conversations with family, friends, and your health care provider. Contact an occupational therapist or a driver rehabilitation specialist to get advice and to learn about other transportation options to stay mobile in the community. MDOT MVA’s Resource Guide for Aging Drivers provides a list of Maryland Driver Rehabilitation Programs.
For more information on Older Driver Safety Week through the American Occupational Therapy Association, click here.