Nearly 90 percent of older drivers do not make inexpensive adaptations to their vehicles that can improve safety and extend their time behind the wheel, says the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. It’s about more than helping diminishing hearing and vision.
“It could be that you’ve had a shoulder injury that’s been nagging, so your range of motion isn’t as well as it used to be, or, you need some adjustment in the pedals,” said Jennifer Haugh with AAA Kansas. “We get a little smaller as we get older, too, different things like that.”
A lot of these accomodations can be purchased at a local drugstore. When it comes to vision, it’s important to get a clear line of sight.
“If it’s a seat cushion that needs to be adjusted, some things can be done with the pedals,” said Haugh. Sometimes people don’t have a very strong right side for some reason, so there’s some adjustments, some adaptations that you can make so you can use your left foot for those pedals, too. There’s all sorts of things that can be done that can extend your driving ability.”
AAA Kansas has a program that can help older drivers find out what they need in the way of accommodations.
“We offer Car Fit,” said Haugh. “We do that with the occupational therapists and AARP. It is a quick 20 minutes through a drive-thru workshop. We make appointments for you. We bring you in. You are in your car. We show you how to
adjust your mirrors, your seat settings, all of those things. An occupational therapist will also run through with you any
adaptations that you can make to get in and out of your car easier.”
Car Fit appointments happen in the spring and fall. Contact AAA Kansas for more information on specific times when
they get closer.