While AAA considers most senior citizen motorists to be safe drivers, they also state certain adaptations can help seniors be safer, and stay on the road longer. Certain low-cost additions help those in their golden years navigate the roadways. Only ten percent of seniors driving take advantages of these simple adjustments.
The Importance of Safety for Senior Citizens
The majority of seniors driving these days are safe drivers, and at the same time, this is the most vulnerable group of drivers on the road. According to recent research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers who are over 65 are twice as likely to be killed when involved in a crash as their younger counterparts. A few simple adaptations can lower the risk of crashing, and extend the time a senior can safely drive.
A Major Study on Senior Driving Safety
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is undertaking a major longitudinal study called the Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers or LongROAD project. This project is “generating the largest and most comprehensive senior driver database in existence.” As the population ages, this information will be vital in understanding the risks faced by older drivers. It will also help to identify the transportation needs of senior citizens.
Important Adaptations Seniors Can Make Now
With just a few simple changes, senior driving can be made safer. While the study investigated several vehicle adaptations, these few were found to be inexpensive and effective:
·Cushions and seat pads – these improve the line of sight. Seniors experiencing back or hip pain may also find the seat pads can help relieve the pain; making driving more pleasurable.
·Convex/multifaceted mirrors – blind spots are a problem for all drivers. These mirrors help minimize blind spots and improve visibility.
·Pedal extensions – Many people lose some height as they age. Pedal extensions can help drivers by providing enough distance between steering wheel and airbag. They can also help with optimizing visibility.
·Steering wheel covers – arthritic hand joints can be painful; making it difficult and uncomfortable to grip the steering wheel. A cover can improve the driver’s grip.
·Hand controls – Some drivers find using hand controls are easier to use than having to use feet.
Some of the adaptations are best used after consulting and working with a trained technician. The NHTSA and American Occupational Therapy Association, as well as AAA urge drivers who get an adaptive device, such as hand controls, to get trained on how to use them properly.
The attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. encourage the senior driver to do all they can to ensure their commute is safe. We specialize in personal injury law and are glad to offer a complimentary consultation if you have a personal injury case. We are the attorneys who care. Proudly serving the southwest Florida area including communities in and around Englewood, Port Charlotte, and North Port.