Baltimore hospital offers road test for elderly drivers

BALTIMORE - If you've already had the talk with your parents, you know how hard it is. Deciding if it's time to take away the keys to the car.

There's a local program that's making it easier on everyone to make the big decision.

Katherine Strakes couldn't imagine giving up the keys. It's been her lifeline to getting around. But those fast days are slowing down.

Strakes said, "I'm going to limit myself. I'm not going to do any NASCAR driving."

When Strakes started to lose feeling in her feet because of old age, she thought her days on the road were over.

Strakes said, "If I'm walking on a cold floor I can feel that, but I cannot feel the brake. If you cannot feel the brake you can't drive."

But this 85 year old got some good news from her doctor. She could go to Good Samaritan Hospital and get help. The hospital has an adaptive driving program to help patients drive again.

If she passed the test, Katherine could hit the road. Turns out Katherine could drive, using hand controls.

Carol Wheatley is her teacher. She ssaid, "We do the evaluation in 2 parts. The first half is a clinical assessment where we look at a person's basic skill for driving… The second step is to do the on road test."

Wheatley said you should talk to your aging parents about driving. And look for chances to get in the car with them to see how they do.

Wheatley said, "See if there are times when the person is not paying attention to traffic as much as they should. Of perhaps they may miss a stop sign or they may have other drivers honking at them."

If you'd like to learn more about the adaptive driving program at Good Samaritan Hospital, call 443-444-4601.

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