Make Car Safety Adjustments

Everyone wants to continue driving as long as safely possible. Learn some of the common car safety features that are available to help older adults and adjustments which can be made to cars to make driving safer. Find out what should always be found in your car's emergency kit and why, for seniors, it's especially important to one.
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Make Car Safety Adjustments

Easily Make Car Safety Adjustments for Senior Drivers

Everyone wants to continue driving as long as safely possible.  We know that being a safe driver is important.  The car should be safe as well.  And, with all of the advances in new car safety features, seniors can get a more comfortable and safer ride.

DISCOVER

(Click to See Answers)

What are some of the common car safety features that help older adults?

The Senior Driving AAA gives us great examples of the most common car features to keep older drivers safe, which include:

  • Larger, brighter dashboard displays
  • Both front and side airbags
  • Larger, glare-proof mirrors
  • Steering wheel that tilts and moves closer to or farther away from the driver
  • Properly aligned/adjusted head rests and electronically adjustable seats
What new car features can help seniors potentially avoid accidents?
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has identified 6 advanced technology features that can be helpful to seniors avoiding crashes:

  • Forward collision warning system, some of which automatically apply the brakes
  • Back-up camera and obstacle detection warning system, commonly called park assistance with rearview display
  • Navigation system, with turn-by-turn GPS
  • Parking assistance systems, that take over steering when parallel parking
  • Radar sensors to detect another vehicle crossing behind them, when backing out of a parking space
  • Automatic crash alert systems that notify emergency services that a crash has occurred
What should we put in our car's Emergency Kit?
According to Ready.Gov and Homeland Security, it’s recommended your Emergency Car kit should include:

  • Jumper cables: might want to include flares or reflective triangle
  • Flashlights: with extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit: remember any necessary medications, baby formula and diapers if you have a small child
  • Food: non-perishable food such as canned food, and protein rich foods like nuts and energy bars
  • Manual can opener
  • Water: at least 1 gallon of water per person a day for at least 3 days
  • Basic toolkit: pliers, wrench, screwdriver
  • Pet supplies: food and water  
  • Radio: battery or hand cranked
  • Cat litter or sand: for better tire traction
  • Shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Clothes: warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes for the cold
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Charged Cell Phone: and car charger

FAST FACTS

The number of inches to be seated away from the steering wheel to allow the airbag the time and space to expand in an impact. (AAA)

Number of miles after which wiper blades should be replaced to ensure clear vision. (AAA)

LOW COST ADJUSTMENTS

 Seat back cushions, steering wheel covers and gas/brake pedal extenders are examples of safety adjustments starting under $100.  (NHSTA)

REDUCE COSTS OF ADAPTIVE EQUIPMENT

Sales tax may be waived if doctor prescribes use.  Cost of equipment may be tax deductible.  Car manufacturers offer rebates. (NHTSA)

NOW WHAT?

Tools & Resources at Your Fingertips

Take Action

Consider CarFit

CarFit is a FREE program offered in communities to assess your car, help you make adjustments and suggest resources for Senior drivers and their families.  Check out events and locations near you (click on map).

CarFit is an educational program created by the American Society on Aging and developed in collaboration with AAA (American Automobile Association), AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Explore smart features for older drivers

The AAA’s work with the University of Florida provides recommended car features based on specific physical or medical conditions, that’s easy to understand.

Additional Valuable  Tools & Resources

NHTSA's Guide on Adapting Cars for Older Drivers

A valueable guide to help you explore your needs and the opportunities for cost savings, from the NHTSA.  Important information on finding the right resources is provided.

AAA's Detailed listing of cars and their features

For every car make and model, the AAA gives you a handy list of which cars have the specific features designed for older drivers.

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