For seniors concerned about their driving skills, here's a way to keeping the keys awhile longer.
AAA New York is sponsoring a Senior Driver Expo at Adelphi University's Performing Arts Center in Garden City Thursday. The event brings together an array of tools, tips and services aimed at keeping seniors on the road safely.
The expo will help older drivers learn new skills and break bad habits. For example, many seniors sit too close to the steering wheel - and the driver's air bag - to compensate for aches and pains and less-than-perfect sight. "You need to be at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel," says Robert Sinclair Jr., a spokesman for AAA New York. "If that air bag goes off, it could result in a very serious injury."
At the event, occupational therapists will conduct a "CarFit" demonstration that can help you drive more comfortably and safer. "The therapists will show exercises that can help promote flexibility and help seniors understand what they need to do in their car so they can maintain control," Sinclair says. The CarFit demonstration will also give you a rundown of "smart" features your car has but which you may not be using, such as the tilt steering wheel or adjustable mirrors.
Other demonstrations and exhibits include AAA's Roadwise Review, a computer program that Sinclair says can test the cognitive and physical abilities of older drivers. And AAA will unveil its DriveSharp computer program that can improve cognitive abilities and brain function. Also at the expo will be health professionals from Winthrop University Hospital. They will discuss problems that could affect the skills of an older driver.
And if you're thinking about buying a new car, you may want to stop by the General Motors exhibit. GM experts will talk about the range of new-car features that are aimed especially at boomers and seniors.
If you come, it may be a good idea to carpool. "Seniors should bring an adult child or their spouse as a sounding board," Sinclair says. The reason: You may think you are still the world's best driver, but your passengers may have a different view.
The expo runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is free. Registration is requested. Call 516-873-2364.