If you are at the age when your neck doesn’t turn as easily or your hands don’t flex as well while driving, or if you are an older driver troubled by hip or leg pain, the right vehicle awaits you. Automakers now boast a plethora of adaptive features to make driving safe and comfortable for senior citizens. In a 2013 “Smart Features for Older Drivers” report, AAA notes that nearly 90 percent of drivers ages 65 and older have health conditions that limit driving safety and comfort, but only 10 percent of these aging individuals rely on specialized auto equipment to accommodate these health issues. Common medical problems for elder drivers include diminished eyesight and mobility, pain, and lack of balance.
AAA estimates that by 2020, 40 million U.S. drivers will be 65 years and older. Through the Smart Features for Older Drivers tool, the auto association helps elderly drivers shop for new vehicles with smart car features that include:
- Adjustable seats and pedals—to alleviate knee and back discomfort.
- Keyless entry and ignition—ideal for stiff, arthritic fingers and hands.
- Contrasting text displays—improves readability and reduces glare.
- Rearview backup cameras—keeps the driver aware of surroundings.
- Modified power steering and a thicker steering wheel—reduces turning effort.
- Subscription navigation system—assists with directions, emergency services and roadside assistance.
- Add-on or replacement mirrors—minimizes head turning while broadening peripheral vision.
- Siren detector—detects high-decibel soundwaves of emergency vehicles and alerts hearing impaired drivers.
Adaptive auto equipment also can prove beneficial for caregivers who struggle to transport loved ones to medical appointments and everyday activities. Right at Home senior care providers are readily available to help with the transportation needs of older or disabled adults who cannot drive safely.
What smart features in vehicles do you find most beneficial?
An award-winning journalist who has documented stories in nearly 20 countries, Beth Lueders is an author, writer and speaker who frequently reports on diverse topics, including aging and health issues for both U.S. and international corporations.