You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Tips for car shopping
The Savvy SeniorFebruary 6, 2013 | 1,885 views | Post a comment
Dear Savvy Senior,
What resources can you recommend to seniors who are shopping for a car? My wife and I are relatively healthy 70-year-olds and are looking for a new senior-friendly vehicle, but could use some help.
For seniors who are in the market for a new or used car, the AAA (American Automobile Association) and the University of Florida’s Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation has just updated an excellent resource called “Smart Features for Older Drivers” that can help you choose a vehicle that meets your needs as you age.
While the automotive industry doesn’t make vehicles specifically designed for senior citizens, they do make certain vehicles with features that can help accommodate the needs of older drivers.
With that in mind, “Smart Features for Older Drivers” addresses the age-related physical changes -- like diminished vision, arthritis, and range of motion loss -- that can affect a senior’s driving ability and comfort behind the wheel, and outlines various vehicle features that help address those issues. Here’s what they recommend.
The first priority is to identify vehicles with a proven safety record which you can research online at safercar.gov and iihs.org/ratings. Also look for vehicles that have dynamic stability control, anti-lock brakes, adjustable head restraints, and side and dual-stage/threshold airbags that adjust the deployment force based on the severity of the crash.
Your next step is to identify specific vehicle features that can help meet your physical needs. So depending on what ails you, here’s what to look for:
•Hip and knee problems: For comfort, a better fit, and easier entry and exit, look for vehicles that have six-way adjustable power seats that move the seat forward and backward, up and down, and the seat-back forward and backward. Also look for low door thresholds and seat heights that don’t require too much bending or climbing to get into. The ideal seat height for seniors is between mid-thigh and lower buttocks when standing next to the vehicle. Leather or faux leather seats are also easier to slide in and out of than cloth seats.
•Stiff upper body: If you have difficulty looking over your shoulder to back up or merge into traffic, look for vehicles with a large rear window for better visibility, wide-angle mirrors which can minimize blind spots, back-up cameras, active parallel park assistance, and blind-spot warning systems that alert you to objects in the way. Also, for comfort and fit, consider vehicles that have a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, adjustable seatbelts, and heated seats with lumbar support.
•Arthritic hands: For easier use, four-door vehicles are recommended because the doors are smaller, lighter and easier to open and close than two-door models. And to help with painful gripping and turning problems, look for keyless entry and a push-button ignition, a thicker steering wheel, power mirrors and seats, and a sliding channel gear selector.
•Diminished vision: Drivers with vision loss due to cataracts, glaucoma, or some other condition will find vehicles with larger instrument panels and dashboard controls with contrasting text easier to see and manipulate. And those with sensitivity to glare will benefit from extendable sun visors, auto-dimming rearview mirror and glare reducing side mirrors.
Smart Features Resource
To access the “Smart Features for Older Drivers” resource, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com/SmartFeatures and use their online tool that lets you choose the age-friendly features you want in a vehicle, and the tool will identify the makes and models that best fit your needs.
Or, if you don’t have Internet access call your AAA (call 1-800-222-4357 to get your local number) and ask them to mail you free copy of the “Smart Features for Older Drivers” brochure. You don’t have to be an AAA member to get this free publication.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC “Today” show and author of The Savvy Senior book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Basketball Scores (November 25, 2015)
Falls City wins area championship (November 25, 2015)
Hornets receive all-district honors (November 25, 2015)
Jaguars host 40th annual tournament (November 25, 2015)
Julie Kosub signs with UIW (November 25, 2015)
Justus Parker named all-conference (November 25, 2015)
La Vernia Bears eliminated in area football playoff (November 25, 2015)
Bears destroy Hawks, 70-7 (November 18, 2015)
Beaverettes outlast Lady Mustangs in season opener (November 18, 2015)
Beavers advance with win over Burton (November 18, 2015)
Brahmas drop playoff game (November 18, 2015)
Hornets’ playoff run ends to Stevens (November 18, 2015)
Jaguars start with two wins in pre-district games (November 18, 2015)
Lady Bears eliminated in regional quarterfinals (November 18, 2015)
Pirates fall in bi-district playoff (November 18, 2015)
Pirettes eliminated in Region IV final (November 18, 2015)
Varsity Basketball Scores (November 18, 2015)
East Central falls to O’Connor in bi-district playoff (November 11, 2015)
East Central Hornets dominate South San Bobcats (November 11, 2015)
Katie Foster leads Pirates of Southwestern University (November 11, 2015)
La Vernia runs strong at state (November 11, 2015)
La Vernia trounces Robstown to close out district (November 11, 2015)
Lady Bears knock off state-ranked team in area playoff (November 11, 2015)
Lady Brahmas win bi-district, eliminated in area play (November 11, 2015)
Pirettes win pair of playoffs, advance to regionals (November 11, 2015)
Poth tops Karnes City to close out regular season (November 11, 2015)
River City Wrestling hosts fan night at Retama Park (November 11, 2015)
Stockdale Brahmas blank Nixon-Smiley in district finale (November 11, 2015)
Akin leads Brahmas, qualifies for state (November 4, 2015)
Bears pound Eagles for 50-point win (November 4, 2015)
Beavers make perfect run through regular season (November 4, 2015)
Brahmas down Badgers to move ahead in district (November 4, 2015)
FHS Jaguars miss volleyball playoffs (November 4, 2015)
Floresville Middle School tops San Marcos tennis teams (November 4, 2015)
Hornets lose second-half shootout in Corpus Christi (November 4, 2015)
Jaguar basketball gets going (November 4, 2015)
La Vernia runners advance to state (November 4, 2015)
Matthew Montgomery competes in international weightlifting (November 4, 2015)
Mustangs stampede Natalia (November 4, 2015)
Pirettes top Lady Brahmas in playoff (November 4, 2015)
Poth gets shut out in Blanco (November 4, 2015)
Tigers end season with loss to Alamo Heights Mules (November 4, 2015)
Varsity volleyball scores (November 4, 2015)