Features that can help senior drivers stay on the road
As we age we can be hesitant to give up our cars because we fear losing our independence, but just because we’re ageing doesn’t mean that we can’t stay safe on the road. John Clark Motor Group has shared the top features that senior drivers should be on the lookout for when purchasing a car.
Many experience a decrease in independence as they age, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By carefully selecting the vehicle they drive based on its features, they can have a car that can help them retain their freedom for years to come.
Older drivers can experience changes in their vision, cognition, and physical abilities that make driving more dangerous. There have been studies into this area by the AA who found that almost 90% of drivers over the age of 65 have health conditions while a mere one in ten has a car with features to address those conditions.
Luckily, car manufacturers have responded with a vast array of features that can support senior drivers. Let’s explore which features are most important for older drivers when looking for a car.
Adjustable seats are an excellent feature to look for in a car. This will allow drivers to maintain a clear view of the road without an obstructed view.
Having an adjustment available will not only allow for better visibility but also help keep the driver comfortable when driving long distances by reducing any discomfort that might set in from prolonged sitting in one position. This is essential when it comes to older drivers because it reduces the chance of injury from stretching and straining to view the road or reach controls on the dashboard.
The other advantage of adjustable seats is that they will make it easier to get in and out of the car.
This feature is ideal for those with lower back pain or joint pain. The heat from the seat will help relax your muscles on longer journeys where driving can really take its toll on the body.
If the budget allows, it might even be possible to purchase a high-end model for additional comfort with a massaging function.
One of the many problems that an older driver may experience is difficulty turning the key into the ignition. This can lead to pain or difficulty when turning the key, and it can be difficult to manage keys while driving. It can even cause further discomfort and can be quite frustrating, leading to drivers deciding not to drive anymore. There are so many benefits to having a car with a push-button start fob, but one of them is that it eliminates this problem.
Up until recently, drivers with limited mobility in their upper body or back/neck pain had to rely on someone else for help backing up.
Luckily, technology has come to the rescue by offering reversing cameras which are an easy solution. The camera attaches to the back of the car and provides a display on the screen inside that shows what’s happening behind the car. These cameras are helpful because they allow drivers to see obstacles without having to turn around or strain their neck or back.
An ideal feature for ageing drivers.
Blindspot/lane departure monitoring systems
Traffic collisions are a serious issue for motorists. It’s just too easy to get distracted, causing accidents that cause injuries and fatalities. This is why it’s important to always maintain concentration while driving, but even the best drivers will have moments where they enter blind spots that block their line of sight. This again is especially important for senior drivers who might have impaired vision.
Adjustable steering wheels
An adjustable steering wheel makes cars more accessible to those with limited mobility. Drivers can adjust the steering wheel up, down, and out of the way, making it easier to enter and exit a vehicle. This can help avoid additional strain reaching for the steering wheel.
Avoid digital dashboards
Not all technological advancements in cars make for a better driving experience. And surprisingly it’s digital dashboards that fall short. Even though having a digital dashboard might sound like a feature that will enhance the experience of senior drivers, a study by the AAA has actually shown that drivers over 55 years old took an extra eight seconds to navigate in vehicles with these systems compared with those aged between 21 and 36. This delay in responding will impact a drivers concentration and potentially be the cause of accidents.
Collision mitigation braking systems
Having a vehicle with AEB capability automatically gives you an alert if you are coming too close to objects such as other vehicles, pedestrians, or stationary objects such as trees or walls. The car alerts the driver that they should consider applying the brakes. If they don’t it will actually apply the brakes for them. This is an important safety feature that makes a huge difference to senior drivers who will have slower reaction times and potentially impaired vision.