Older drivers may suffer from conditions and illnesses which make driving a challenge. Since there are more elderly drivers on the roads, however – one estimate from the AAA suggests that by 2024, one quarter of all drivers will be over 65 – manufacturers are creating devices and car options that make mobility easier for elderly drivers. Some of these devices help elderly drivers drive safely and can even help prevent car accidents:
1) Larger wheels and simplified ignition systems. Thicker wheels are easier to grip – even for drivers with arthritis or other conditions – and allow elderly drivers to retain better control of their vehicles. This can be crucial if a driver needs to act quickly to avoid a car or pedestrian accident. Simplified ignitions that do not require a twist motion are also good options for drivers with limited mobility.
2) Power features. Although not marketed specifically at elderly drivers, power features – such as keyless entry, power locks, and power windows – are great for older drivers with limited mobility.
3) High seats. Higher seats make it much easier for elderly drivers to climb in and out of a vehicle. These seats also prevent elderly drivers from having to lift themselves out of a seat. Higher seats also offer seniors a better view of the road. Look for cars that have adjustable seats that come to mid-thigh when standing for best comfort and car control.
4) Good doors. Four-door cars with easy to open doors are important, as they make getting in and out of a car simpler. Older drivers should look for doors that open easily without a struggle. As well, low door thresholds are useful for climbing in and out of a car.
5) Visible controls and good sub visors. Many seniors begin experiencing some vision problems, and visible controls in the car with large, contrasting text are important. Visible controls allow drivers to see fuel levels, audio controls, and other areas of the dash easily without removing focus form the road. As well, extended and flexible sun visors which reduce glare are also important in allowing drivers to see the road clearly.