Almost 90 percent of senior drivers are driving cars that don’t meet their needs for health, safety and comfort, according to a new report by AAA. The study found that drivers older than 65 commonly have decreased flexibility and muscle strength, limited range of upper-body motion and diminished vision, and that while many cars have features that can help senior drivers compensate for these issues, they aren’t driving them.
AAA has issued a variety of recommendations in its "Smart Features for Older Drivers" guide including:
- Seat heights that are higher off the car's floor or can be adjusted so they are at least as high as the driver's mid-thigh when standing for easier entry and exit in the car.
- Power seats that adjust six ways or more to help with hip, knee or leg problems or decreased leg strength.
- Keyless entry and push-button start as well as thicker steering wheels for drivers with reduced grip strength in their hands.
- Power mirrors and dashboard controls with buttons for drivers who have trouble with twisting or turning motions with their hands.
- Larger displays with contrasting text for those with diminished vision.
Many of today's cars come standard with these features and don't require purchasing a higher-priced car, which is helpful for those who are taking on an auto loan. By looking for a car equipped with features such as these, it can lengthen the amount of time senior drivers can maintain their freedom safely and comfortably.
If you're a senior, do you have trouble driving your car? Would these suggested features help with your driving?
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.