Going home for the holidays has layers of significance for adult children, particularly those who live out of town. It remains a time of togetherness and thankfulness, but it’s also an opportunity to observe your aging family members to determine if their physical and cognitive skills are still sufficient for safe driving. Following are three tips to help you gauge your loved one’s safe driving abilities during your next trip home:
After retiring from a very successful 24-year career with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Matt Gurwell quickly recognized that he was still filled with a desire for improving highway safety and more specifically, a passion to help keep older drivers, safe drivers. As a result, Matt founded Keeping Us Safe, a national organization with a mission to help keep older drivers safe. He has developed programs that provide senior drivers and their families with direction in helping to ensure one's smooth transition from the driver's seat to the passenger seat. Since leaving the Patrol, Matt has participated in a tremendous amount of work in the area of older driver research, best practices, current vehicle safety technologies, and adaptive equipment. After consulting with professionals from several different disciplines, Matt took this new knowledge and blended it with his years of experience investigating accidents and dealing with people (in sometimes less than comfortable settings!), and developed the "Enhanced Self-Assessment Program" for senior drivers. Matt's creative, innovative and common sense approach, combined with his uncanny ability to bring calm and resolve to stressful situations without ever jeopardizing the dignity of others, has contributed greatly to the success of Keeping Us Safe's programs. When asked what the turning point was for starting Keeping Us Safe, Matt explains: "There was never one particular event. It was the result of 20-plus years of holding dying people in my arms at terrible car accidents, and delivering dozens and dozens of death notifications to families. I would much rather work with families bringing a peaceful resolve to this sensitive and uncomfortable issue now, rather than have them deal with it when an Ohio State Trooper is knocking on their front door". Matt also explains that "At Keeping Us Safe, we are not in the 'older driver' business. We are in the business of saving lives and helping family members maintain their relationships with an aging parent through a very difficult time of transition."