Smart Features For Mature Drivers

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,016
    AAA discusses how to add special features to your car to become a safer driver as you age.

    Sharon Berlin: Safety knows no age when it comes to driving. Even with a lifetime of experience behind the wheel, older drivers benefit from a vehicle tailored to fit their needs. As we age we continually change, and changes may be so subtle we don't notice them happening. For example, at 40, mental sharpness begins to diminish, thought processing slows, multitasking is more challenging, night vision worsens, and recovery from glare is reduced. At 50, 9 in 10 people will require bifocals and reaction time slows. Between ages 30 and 60, muscle strength and range of motion can decrease up to 40%. At 70, arthritic joints may make movement painful and restrict mobility. While getting older can make driving more challenging, you can look for smart features in today's cars for your individual needs, keeping you safe and comfortable behind the wheel. What are some of these features? For people who suffer from pain or arthritis in their hands, features like a thick steering wheel or a push button ignition can help reduce the amount of strength and grip needed to power and maneuver the car. Drivers experiencing reduced vision can benefit from features such as larger angled rear and side mirrors to help minimize blind spots or auto-dimming rearview mirrors and glare reduction side mirrors to help reduce blinding glare from other vehicle headlights. If you experience leg pain or reduced range of motion in your lower body, a low door threshold eases your entry and exit from the vehicle. And adjustable brake and accelerator pedals allow you to comfortably reach the pedals without having to scoot down and compromise visibility. No matter your age, choosing a vehicle with features tailored to your needs can help improve your safety and comfort behind the wheel.