Senior drivers could be doing more to improve their safety and extend their time behind the wheel, at least according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Many Senior Drivers Don’t Make Vehicle Adjustments That Can Improve Safety
AAA Foundation researchers report that nearly 90 percent of older drivers aren’t making common vehicle adaptations that could help make them safer on the road. What exactly are vehicle adaptations? They are inexpensive devices like pedal extensions and steering wheel covers that can address issues faced by some aging drivers and help reduce their crash risk.
Researchers looked at 12 different types of vehicle adaptations including:
- Cushion and seat pads
- to improve the line of sight and help alleviate back or hip pain.
- Convex multifaceted mirrors
- to improve visibility and minimize blind spots.
- Pedal extensions
- to help drivers obtain a safe distance from steering wheel and airbags.
- Steering wheel covers
- to improve grip for drivers with arthritic hand joints. The AAA Foundation reports that three out of four seniors experience at least one condition impacting their muscles and joints.
- Hand controls
- to allow the driver to perform vehicle maneuvers and functions without use of lower extremities.
Use A Trained Technician For Proper Installation
Aside from choosing the right features to add to vehicles, working with a trained technician to properly install them is also important. That’s something else many senior drivers aren’t doing. The study found that almost 90 percent of senior drivers who did add modifications to their vehicles did not work with a trained professional. It’s something AAA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) all highly recommend.
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