CarFit helping drivers understand their vehicles better | News, Sports, Jobs

CHECK-IN HERE — The entrance of a CarFit event will be displayed with this tent and driver’s information for those planning on attending the upcoming program in Jefferson County. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 26 at Ferguson’s House of Furniture in Wintersville. — Contributed

WINTERSVILLE — Fortunately, there are ways for drivers to adapt to their cars and adjust their “fit” within them so as to reduce their risk of injury during a crash. That is why CarFit is coming to Jefferson County.

CarFit will offer area drivers the opportunity to check how well their cars “fit” them. What’s more, the event is free. The Jefferson County program will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 26 at Ferguson’s House of Furniture, located at 110 Main St. in Wintersville.

This is an educational program designed to provide a quick but comprehensive check of how well drivers and their vehicles work together.

Developed by AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association, CarFit’s trained professionals will be taking older drivers through a 20-minute, 12-point checklist with their vehicle. This is not a driving test or a mechanical inspection, officials noted.

The 12 key areas will include if there is adequate enough space from the steering wheel, proper seat belt use and properly-adjusted head restraints. Drivers will then learn how to use and adjust safety devices.

Once the course is completed, drivers will receive recommendations on any minor adjustments which need to be made in order to help make their cars “fit” better for them as far as comfort and safety go.

Certified CarFit technician Deb Hill provided some quotes from technicians who have recently helped people during these events, saying many drivers were not even aware how to adjust their steering wheel, their seat or their shoulder belt for maximum safety and driver visibility.

“There have been drivers who did not know where the parking brake or the emergency flashers were located and almost all participants did not have their rear-view mirrors adjusted to minimize the driver’s blind spot,” the technicians said. “These easy-to-make safety adjustments have the potential to save lives and help drivers of all ages feel safer in their cars.”

The Jefferson County event will have an occupational therapist on site to provide information on how to maintain and strengthen driving health.

CarFit was not created to be a deciding factor in how long a person should be able to drive, officials stated. The program is intended to provide information to drivers that will make driving safer for both them and those they share the road with.

Any driver of any age can benefit from CarFit and drivers of any age are welcome to attend, officials said.

The purpose behind creating CarFit is because statistics show that by the year 2030, those who are 65 and older are expected to represent 1 in 4 licensed drivers.

Officials stated, “Personal mobility is critical for healthy aging, but our bodies change as we age. Having an ill-fitting vehicle can make it uncomfortable and unsafe to drive. Additionally, older drivers have the highest crash death rate per mile of everyone except teenagers. CarFit is a tool that can help keep seniors, and others, safer behind the wheel.”

CarFit events are pre-registered and appointments are available in 20 minute time slots. For questions or to schedule an appointment, contact Jill Cunningham, mobility manager, at (330) 204-6524. The event is sponsored by the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association. Others instrumental in the development and coordination of the program include Regional Transit Planning, Mobility Management, AAA, AARP and AOTA.

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