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How to Make Cars Senior-Friendly

May 14 2020

By Brooke Chaplan

Driving is a privilege that is enjoyed by people across many different age groups. Though anyone with a driver’s license can ultimately drive any vehicle, some cars tend to be more difficult for people to drive as they get older. The good news is that there are changes that can be made to make cars easier to drive, no matter how old the driver is. To ensure people of all ages can drive safely, here are a few tips for how to make cars senior-friendly.

Add Running Boards

One of the biggest struggles for many seniors when it comes to cars is getting into and out of them. Though a taller vehicle can make for easier visibility, those few extra inches can make it quite difficult for a senior with reduced muscle mass to gain entry into the vehicle. Fortunately, for many seniors, adding running boards makes this process much easier. The extra step allows them to gain a more solid foothold, ensuring they enter and exit the vehicle safely.

Adjust Seat Height

To make modern vehicles more aerodynamic, they are often shorter than older vehicles of the same model. In sedans and coupes, especially, this new shape puts the seats quite low in the passenger cabin. For older adults who are losing height due to age, this can make it difficult to see over the dashboard, potentially resulting in a crash. To help with this problem, there are aftermarket devices available for many vehicles that allow you to boost the height of the seat without sacrificing the safety the seat provides. If you or a loved one do get into an accident, having these safety features will help you and a car accident attorney to argue your case.

Head-Up Display

As people age, it can be more difficult for them to adjust their focus from the road to the instrument cluster, and back again. That split-second that they’re looking away is more than enough time for an accident to occur. That’s why a head-up display is such a good idea for older drivers. A head-up display provides all the necessary vehicle information right at eye level, meaning drivers never have to take their eyes off of the road.

Vehicle Service Alerts

One convenience that most modern vehicles offer is the ability to alert the owner when various maintenance items are due. These alerts can help you remember to take your car in for service so that you don’t end up broken down on the side of the road. If a senior isn’t quite up-to-speed on the smartphone apps that are required for these services, they can allow a family member to receive the alerts so that someone is always aware of what the vehicle needs.

Constant Feedback

At some point, most older adults will lose their ability to drive a vehicle safely. It is up to those closest to them to be aware of their capabilities on an ongoing basis to ensure they don’t put themself at risk. With everyone working together, the roads can continue to be a safe place to drive.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan