Woman Teaches Safety To Fellow Senior Motorists

February 27, 1991|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff writer

When a person's age starts to match the highway speed limit, it might be time to consider a brush-up course on safe driving.

There is no minimum age for taking the 55 Alive class, but most adults start to notice that their hearing, vision, reflexes and other driving skills start to deteriorate after age 55, said Sandy Spurrier, who teachesthe two-day class.

Spurrier advises older drivers to stay out of rush-hour traffic, avoid routes that require left turns, ask passengers to help keep an eye on the right side and keep the radio turned off.

"If your hearing is bad, you need all the quiet you can get in the car," Spurrier said.

Spurrier, who is 68, said there are no hard and fast rules or age limits on when seniors should stop driving. But usually, she said, the seniors know when they should give up their licenses.

While several seniors interviewed said they usually drive right at the posted speed limit, many begin to drive more slowly as they get older, Spurrier said.

"When people begin not to be comfortable with the posted speed limit, they should get off the road and stay off," Spurrier said. "If they don't drive the posted speed limit and cars back upbehind them, other drivers take chances. (Slow drivers) are a menaceto the other people."

Spurrier said that if a slower driver notices cars backing up, he or she should pull over and let the cars pass.

Usually, before seniors stop driving altogether, they stop driving at night because it becomes harder for them to see in the dark, Spurrier said.

"I don't like to drive at night," she said. "Everyonewith age has problems with it."

Before Spurrier taught the class,she took it herself four years ago.

"I was surprised when I took this class how much I'd forgotten," Spurrier said. The class includesbrushing up on laws -- many of which have changed since the last time the seniors read the drivers manual.

The next class will be March 26 and 27 at Carroll Lutheran Village. The fee is $7 for materials.

To register, call Spurrier at 549-2851.

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