Vehicle Adjustments for SeniorsJanuary 10, 2018
According to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers aged 65 and older are more than twice as likely to be fatally injured in a car accident than younger drivers.
This statistic is likely due to the fact that older drivers often experience age-related muscle and bone conditions that can impact their ability to operate a motor vehicle. There is a range of simple and relatively inexpensive adaptations for seniors that can be made to vehicles to lower the risk of an accident.
Even the most responsible and experienced drivers can become more vulnerable to car accidents as they age. The following are examples of safety upgrades that senior drivers can make to their vehicles that can lower their risk of being in a car accident:
- Steering Wheel Covers – Improves grip for drivers suffering from arthritis in their hands
- Seat Cushions – Help reduce back and hip pain and can improve the line of sight
- Pedal Extensions – Help drivers maintain a safe distance from the steering wheel and can improve visibility
- Convex/Multifaceted Mirrors – Minimize blind spots, which helps visibility
- Hand Controls – Allows the driver to operate the majority of the vehicles maneuvers and functions by hand, without having to use the lower extremities
Mental Health Benefits
In addition to the physical benefits of avoiding injuries that can result from a wreck, these simple changes can also have a positive impact on the mental health of seniors. Making car adaptions can extend the amount of time that seniors can drive, helping them maintain their independence longer.
According to research, seniors who no longer drive are nearly two times more likely to suffer from depression, and five times more likely to enter a long-term care facility than those who continue to drive. While these car adaptions are simple to make, close to 90 percent of older drivers do not take these steps to improve the safety of their vehicles.
The Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations for AAA Northeast says that the reason that many seniors are hesitant to make these upgrades to their vehicles is that they are afraid it means that they are one step closer to losing their ability to drive.
Addressing the fact that they are getting older can be difficult for some seniors to talk about. However, in reality, these upgrades are designed to keep them driving for as long as possible by offering safety features that can protect them from serious injuries.
AAA is working with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the American Society on Aging and the AARP to develop a program called CarFit, which helps seniors learn about car adaptions and how they can improve the safety of their vehicles. A trained professional will conduct a 12-point check of a senior’s car and recommend the appropriate adjustments that should be made. Seniors have the option of signing up for the event online.
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If you have been injured in a car accident, contact our Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve, ensuring that your legal rights are protected at all times. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
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