Here are some interesting facts about mature drivers that will be affecting many of us who live on the Monterey Peninsula:
- By 2020, there will be more than 40 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older.
- The 65 and over age group ranks second in traffic fatalities.
- 40 percent of motorists over the age of 65 suffered from at least one of nine driving related difficulties commonly caused by aging.
- Nearly one in five motorists over 65 plan to buy or lease a new vehicle in the next two years.
Because many of the changes our bodies experience as we age can affect our ability to safely operate a vehicle, mature drivers are looking for vehicles with features that address their specific needs and health issues. AAA Insurance put together a “Smart” vehicle report that recommends specific vehicles to meet the needs of mature drivers.Some AAA “Smart” recommendations include:
- Drivers suffering from hip or leg pain, decreased leg strength or limited knee range of motion should look for vehicles with six-way adjustable power seats and seat heights that come between the driver’s mid-thigh and lower buttocks. Both of these features can make it easier for drivers to enter and exit a vehicle. Examples of vehicles to look for: Ford Edge, Honda Element.
- Drivers with arthritic hands and painful or stiff fingers would benefit from four-door models, thick steering wheels, keyless entry and ignition, power mirrors and seats and larger dashboard controls with buttons. The Toyota Camry is one example of a car that can benefit drivers with diminished fine motor skills. Drivers with diminished vision or problems with low contrast sensitivity will find helpful options such as extendable sun visors, large audio and climate controls and displays with contrasting text. Examples of vehicles to look for: Chevrolet Impala and Mazda 6.
- Proven crashworthiness, crash test and rollover ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (safercar.gov) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.iihs.org/ratings).
- Side and dual-stage/threshold airbags that adjust the deployment force based on the severity of the crash. Adjustable head restraints and extra padding.
- Antilock brakes.
- Dynamic stability control.
Though these recommendations will not prevent accidents if the driver is at fault, they can certainly help reduce the number of traffic tragedies. Whether or not you are driving a new or used vehicle, make sure that your vehicle’s safety features are in top working condition. Come to Robert’s Auto Repair at 234 Ramona Avenue in Monterey, CA 93940 for a vehicle inspection and safety report. Call 831-373-1534 today to schedule your appointment.