Few Senior Drivers Take Simple Safety Steps
People over 65 who are involved in vehicle crashes are more than twice as likely to be killed as younger drivers, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Unfortunately, many seniors don’t realize that they could make simple, inexpensive adjustments to their vehicles that could make them safer on the road and extend their time in the driver’s seat, says AAA.
A new study from the foundation, called In-Vehicle Technologies, Vehicle Adaptations, and Older Drivers: Use, Learning, and Perceptions, is the first part of a Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) project. For this phase, researchers investigated 12 vehicle adaptations and found that fewer than 9 percent of senior drivers reported using any of the devices.
Inexpensive devices that can be added to vehicles to improve safety for seniors include:
- Cushions and seat pads that can improve a driver’s line of sight and help alleviate back or hip pain
- Convex and multifaceted mirrors that improve visibility and minimize blind spots
- Pedal extensions that help drivers stay a safe distance from the steering wheel and airbag and optimize visibility
- Steering wheel covers that improve grip for drivers with arthritic hands
- Hand controls that allow the driver to perform all vehicle maneuvers and functions without the use of their lower extremities