As people age, they often experience physical difficulties, including reduced muscle strength, reduced visual capabilities, and slower reaction times. Reductions in bone density, an issue that impacts women, makes older adults shorter than they were during earlier parts of their lives. These challenges can make it more difficult for an individual to safely operate a vehicle. The stereotype that older drivers cause accidents largely stems from the physical challenges of drivers in their 60s, 70s, and beyond. Rather than giving up driving, older adults with strong mental acuity can make adaptations to their vehicles for safer driving.
How Older Drivers Can Adapt Their Cars to Their Needs
Older drivers often face the following challenges:
- Reduced visibility
- Reduced muscle strength and control of their feet and ankles
- Difficulty gripping the steering wheel
- Difficulty reaching the pedals while remaining at a safe distance from the airbag
Each of these challenges has a corresponding, inexpensive adaptation. For example, a driver who has difficulty seeing over the steering wheel can use a seat cushion to keep themselves seated at a comfortable height while easing lower back pain. Another way to improve visibility is to make use of convex mirrors. For drivers who cannot reach the pedals, pedal extensions can be purchased. When difficulties with the pedals stem from physical inhibitions in the foot, a driver can have their vehicle adapted to have the brake and gas controls moved to the steering column to use their hands for these tasks. For arthritic drivers, a steering wheel cover can make it easier to grip the wheel.
Why Many Seniors Do Not Make Necessary Safety Improvements
For many older adults, the physical challenges discussed above slowly become severe over time. A driver might not realize how badly they are impaired, and how much their driving ability and safety can improve with a minor safety adaptation. Certain seniors may feel that discussing their challenges with younger relatives will cause them to forcibly take their car keys or use the guilt of driving against them. A driver might also feel that adapting their vehicle is admitting that they are no longer capable of driving safely. However, continuing to drive into old age can be possible because of car adaptation, and has been proven beneficial for a person’s health. AAA research found that older adults who stop driving are twice as likely to suffer depression, and five times more likely to enter assisted living facilities.
Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Represent Car Accident Victims of Negligent Drivers
If you are suffering from an injury you sustained in a collision with another driver, work with an experienced Cherry Hill car accident lawyer to pursue compensation for your monetary damages. Fill out our online form or call 856-414-0010 to schedule your initial consultation with a member of DiTomaso Law. Our office is in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and we serve clients from South Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.