Seniors not taking advantage of vehicle modifications, AAA finds

Almost 90 percent of seniors do not take advantage of inexpensive automobile safety features, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

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Of those who do use the devices, 90 percent did not have them professionally installed.

These inexpensive features include steering wheel covers, pedal extensions, convex or multifaceted mirrors, hand controls and seat cushions. These modifications could make it safer to drive as well as extend the number of years a senior can drive by making driving more comfortable.

More than 70 percent of seniors have conditions that cause pain while driving, AAA discovered.

Extended driving also improves seniors’ mindsets. Those who stop driving are nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression and nearly five times as likely to enter a long-term care facility than those who continue driving.

“When an ache or pain begins hindering driving ability, many older drivers are able to continue driving safely after making a few adjustments,” Elin Schold Davis, project coordinator of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Older Driver Initiative, said. “Occupational therapy practitioners trained in driving rehabilitation are especially valuable in connecting the dots between medical challenges that can affect driving and the appropriate equipment and adaptations needed to remain safely independent in the vehicle.”