Our bodies change with age, often becoming less limber which can make it harder to twist and turn than it was a few years ago. Unfortunately, minor physical issues that have little impact on most of your daily activities can be an impediment to safe driving. For example, if you experience pain when you twist your back, it can be difficult to look over your shoulder when backing out of a parking space or driveway. Rotator cuff problems can make it difficult to reach back and pull your seat belt on. When your mental and physical acuity are otherwise unimpaired, it can be worrisome to think that a few small physical issues might force you to stop driving.
Aftermarket add-ons are helping older drivers overcome minor and even major physical issues so they can hang onto their car keys and their independence longer. Many of the mobility-enhancing products now available on the automotive market were originally developed to aid disabled drivers but are being repurposed to increase safety for mature drivers.
We have already discussed features that are coming to market [link to previous driving blog] in the next few years; the following are among some of the most useful products available now:
- Oversized mirrors hook over standard rearview mirrors to increase sight lines and provide drivers with more detailed rear views
- Special non-slip pads increase seat height, giving drivers a clear view over the dashboard
- Swivel seats allow drivers to easily enter and exit cars
- Grab bars attached to door frames provide more support when getting in and out of vehicles
- Pedal extensions raise pedal heights to comfortable levels
- Seat belt handles make it easy to reach seat belts and pull them on
For a simple refresher, sign up for one of AARPs Driver Safety courses.