On May 31 2015, CAA Manitoba and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) have teamed up to host the first-ever CarFit event in Manitoba, aiming to keep maturing drivers behind the wheel, while keeping safety in mind.
Though age alone does not determine a person’s ability to drive safely, it’s important to recognize changes in vision, perception, cognition and physical ability; all of which can affect driving and the risk of collision. With over 2.7 million drivers in Canada over 65 years old, older adults represent the fastest growing portion of the driving population.
“It is important to older adults to maintain their independence, and driving is a big part of that,” says Angèle Young, Public and Government Affairs Specialist for CAA Manitoba. “Cars are not one-size-fits-all. There is a lot you can do to adapt a vehicle to compensate for physical and cognitive changes as you age.”
“As we age, changes in our vision, flexibility, strength, range of motion and even size and height may make us less comfortable and reduce our control behind the wheel,” says Tamalea Stone, spokesperson for CAOT. “CarFit provides older adults with the tools to understand and apply the safety features of their car.”
At Sunday’s CarFit event, trained volunteers completed a 12-point checklist with 30 pre-registered drivers. Items checked include:
- Correct position of driver’s seat
- Driver’s ability to easily reach pedals
- Proper adjustment of mirrors
Occupational therapists provided education on how to maintain and improve their driving health, and provide information about how to keep them safe on the road.
The event was a great success.