Driving represents freedom to most of us, especially as we grow older. But the topic of senior drivers can sometimes be a contentious one. Studies show that older drivers are among the safest drivers on the road. Unlike other age groups, senior drivers are more likely to cause harm to themselves than others as a result of an accident. It’s not just while they are driving either. Some mishaps also occur when a driver is trying to get in or out of the car.
What can an older driver do to decrease their risk of a driving-related injury?
There are some undeniable changes that come with aging, such as a loss of flexibility, that can make it more difficult to drive. Seniors may enjoy more years of independence by choosing a car that takes their unique needs into consideration. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to compensate. One of which is technology.
Driving Technology for Older Adults
One way technology can support senior drivers is by offering more ways to see what’s going on around you. Rear-view cameras make backing up easier. No more trying to twist your head and shoulders around to see behind you, which can be especially tough for older drivers. Large, wide-angle mirrors are another useful tool. They help drivers see areas referred to as “blind spots.” Then there are the newer cars that help drivers park using parallel parking assistance technology. Senior drivers can also explore futuristic features, like crash alerts.
If you’re in the market for a new car, there is a free tool for older drivers that is available on the AAA website. It provides a list of smart features for seniors to choose from. The tool is cleverly designed by “issue,” so users can connect with the exact feature that suits a particular need or shortcoming. For example, if you suffer from arthritis in your hands or vision changes, there are options for cars that compensate for these limitations.
Click on any issue you suffer from (and you can enter as many as you need) and you’ll be presented with a list of cars that might help make driving easier. The AAA tool is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a great starting point.
Best Cars for Senior Drivers
Consumer Reports is another avenue for finding a senior-friendly vehicle. They evaluate cars for a variety of safety features, many of which impact older drivers. Front seat accessibility, visibility, high-performance headlights, intuitive controls, and easy-to-read gauges are a few.
Safety features that are usually optional, but may be especially beneficial for older drives, include back-up cameras, parallel parking assistance, and lane-departure notification. Power seats, an adjustable steering wheel, and adaptable foot pedals are others.
Here are some cars that rank the highest for safety:
- Subaru Forester
- Subaru Outback
- Kia Sportage
- Kia Forte
Others that perform well in terms of senior-friendly features:
- Nissan Rogue
- Ford Escape
- Toyota Corolla
- Chrysler Pacifica
While there usually comes a day when older drivers need to hang up the car keys for good, technology can help extend that time for many people.
Transportation Services and Independent Living Communities
One of the most popular services offered at independent living communities is transportation. Residents can utilize this service for doctor’s appointments, shopping trips, and for outings to local destinations such as restaurants, art museums, and movie theaters. To help you better understand your options for financing all types of senior care, we created a comprehensive guide. We invite you to download A Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing with our compliments!