Keeping Seniors Safely on the Road Longer

In the complex world we live in today, driving is a necessity, not a luxury. But as people age driving safely can become a challenge Luckily there are small changes that can be made to cars which will increase their safety by a significant amount for many older drivers.

Data shows that among people involved in car crashes, those over 65 have double the chance of dying in that crash than others who are younger. This is not to say that older drivers are not safe drivers; rather they are a more vulnerable population. There are several simple steps seniors can take to improve the safety of driving for themselves and others around them.

Pedal extensions help create a safer distance for drivers from the steering wheel and airbag and help improve visibility. Seat cushions also improve line of sight and can improve comfort for hips and backs. Covering the steering wheel can improve the grip the driver has on the wheel.

In addition, research has shown that even among senior drivers who are adding these small changes to their car, over 90 percent do not follow the recommended advice to have a professional install these devices.

The safety of driving can also be affected by health conditions that harm muscles and bones, such as arthritis, hip/knee replacement, and joint pains, which about 7 out of 10 older drivers have.

“When an ache or pain begins hindering driving ability, many older drivers are able to continue driving safely after making a few adjustments,” said one researcher

The expert to consult with on these issues are occupational therapists, who can recommend the correct changes for the safest drive possible.

Other devices that can help the driving experience and its level of safety are convex or multifaceted mirrors that improve visibility and reduce blind spots. Hand controls can also allow people to drive without using their feet.