If you’re one of the approximately 23 million American licensed drivers over the age of 70 years, chances are you may want some help to be sure you’re safe and comfortable when you get behind the wheel.
Despite the auto industry’s continued improvements in making vehicles safer and easier to drive, getting older creates limitations that even the most advanced vehicle modifications can’t counteract. Vision, hearing, mobility, dexterity, and cognitive challenges get compounded by medication, emotions, and information overload. All this can make a simple trip to the grocery store a lot bigger hassle than it used to be!
But before the Doc or the kids try to take your keys away, here are some accommodations that you can make with your current vehicle to address those vision, entrance/exit, comfort, and safety concerns they may have about you’re driving.
Basic panoramic mirrors (less than $20) clip over an existing rear view mirror, other types will be wider and have several panels across. Spot mirrors (most under $5) come in various sizes and shapes and fasten by adhesive tape. Both these mirrors are readily available at most big-box stores and auto parts outlets. The No Glare Visor Extender is designed to block blinding glare from sunlight and clips onto your existing visor. Size is about 11” by 5” and is available from Walter Drake ($7).
The Handybar fits the door jamb of most vehicles and is available at some big-box stores and several online shopping sites for around $30. There are several versions of the swivel seat cushion, mostly from online vendors like Maxi-Aids and are also around $30.
Gel seat cushions can minimize pressure on your spine and can make longer distance travel less painful. Get the Walmart heated version (less than $50 online) and winter becomes more tolerable, too! Again, long distance driving can get uncomfortable – this seatbelt shoulder strap pad makes being safe more comfortable (at large-box stores and online for about $15.)
The Grab & Pull gives you an extra handle for pulling your seatbelt secure. Easily attached and low-cost (around $10 from various online sources including Granny Gizmos.)