Making Driving Safer for Senior Drivers
According to a report by AAA, almost 90 percent of seniors have not made simple changes to their vehicles to improve their safety while driving. The organization says that drivers 65 years and older are twice as likely yo be killed in car crash than younger motorists. But there are many things that these drivers can do to help them drive longer and drive safer.
Some inexpensive vehicle modifications that the AAA suggests for senior drivers include:
- Steering wheel covers to improve the grip on the wheel for those with arthritis
- Multifaceted mirrors to minimize blind spots
- Pedal extensions, so drivers can still be far enough away from the airbags but still easily drive
- Seat cushions to help with back pain
- Having hand controls so a senior doesn’t have to use their lower extremities to drive
- Seat belt extensions- for drivers who have a hard time fastening theirs due to limited mobility
- Push button ignition- to easily start the vehicle
Only 9% of senior drivers surveyed had at least one of the 12 total modifications suggested. Besides these modifications, other things that older rivers can use to their advantage are new car technologies such as:
- Adaptive cruise control: This adjusts your vehicle speed automatically to maintain a constant gap between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead.
- Adaptive headlights: Automatically change the direction of light when you steer left or right on curved roads.
- Park Assist: Usually include a rear-view backup camera or audible warnings to drivers when something gets close.
- Blind Spot Warning System
- Emergency Response system that calls personnel when a crash happens
- Voice Control to control radio and navigation
- Lane Departure warning, which are sensors to detect when you drift out of a lane
- Navigation: So seniors know exactly where they are headed step by step
In the AAA survey, 57% of participants had at least one of these technologies in their vehicle, most had two. The most common technologies where Bluetooth and parking assist. Also 48.9% of these senior drivers said they figured out how to use these technologies on their own. If you know any elderly drivers, see if they have any technologies in their car that they are not using to their full advantage and help them out. We can all make the roads safer by helping improve safety for senior drivers.