Study: Minor vehicle adjustments keep older drivers safe

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A new study finds there are several minor adaptations older drivers can make to their vehicles to increase safety, but nearly 90 percent of those drivers aren’t making the adjustments.

Drivers aged 65 and older are more than twice as likely as younger drivers to be killed when involved in a car crash. AAA is urging older drivers to consider making the adaptations to their vehicles.

The findings are the first phase of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) project.

The study names some of the devices that can be used in new or existing vehicles, including cushions and seat pads which improve line of sight, convex or multifaceted mirrors which minimize blind spots, pedal extensions to help drivers maintain a safe distance from the steering wheel and airbag, and steering wheel covers to improve grip for drivers with arthritis.

“It turns out that for senior drivers, making little adaptations like that actually increases their mental capabilities,” AAA Central Penn spokesperson Doni Lee Spiegel said. “For seniors that quit driving, they’re more than twice as likely to develop depression and more than five times as likely to be put into a long-term care facility, so keeping seniors behind the wheel longer and keeping them behind the wheel safer is a top priority.”

AAA Central Plan is planning to hold a Car Fit event in 2018 to help keep seniors safe behind the wheel. A date for the event has yet to be announced.

AAA also offers an Online Mature Operator Course for senior drivers. Drivers will receive a discount on auto insurance premiums upon completion of the course. More information can be found on their website.

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