For many seniors, driving represents independence and a privilege they are loathe to relinquish. However, as we age, driving can become increasingly challenging due to a decrease in mobility, height changes, and a loss of balance. Thankfully, adaptive devices exist to make driving safer and easier for seniors, allowing them to continue enjoying the freedom of the road.

1. Adaptive Mirrors

Adaptive mirrors are an excellent tool for any senior, but especially for those who experience decreased mobility in their head and neck. Don’t worry that the new Mazda for sale doesn’t have these available as a standard option. Adaptive mirrors are easily added to any vehicle with the help of a handy family member or your favorite auto mechanic.

Panoramic rearview mirrors are helpful to minimize blind spots and allow individuals to see more of their surroundings without bending and twisting. These motions can be painful for the elderly, but failing to turn and check their surroundings can lead to accidents. Larger side mirrors similarly expand a person’s view of cars and objects nearby.

2. Pedal Extenders

As we age, many of us will lose up to several inches in height. Combine that with a lack of flexibility, and seniors may find themselves struggling to reach the gas and brake pedals in a vehicle. While this is a dangerous situation, moving the seat too far forward to reach the pedals is also unsafe. If an accident causes the airbags to deploy, a person sitting too close to the steering wheel is more likely to experience significant injury. Pedal extenders allow seniors to comfortably reach the controls while maintaining a safe distance from the steering wheel.

3. Safety Seats and Handles

For many elderly, a decrease in balance means that the greatest risk and the greatest fear is falling. A significant fall can lead to cascading health problems and an extended, if not permanent, break from driving. Swivel safety seats are effective tools to combat decreased mobility and a lack of balance. These adaptive devices allow drivers to enter and exit the vehicle with greater ease and less chance of falling due to bending and twisting their bodies.

Adaptive handles are nice complementary tools to the safety seat. By using easy-to-grip handles attached to the door or inside frame of the car, elderly drivers can more easily and safely move in and out of the vehicle. These tools allow those with balance issues to navigate the transition with less risk of falling. Again, the goal is to minimize fall risk so that folks can continue to enjoy the freedom of driving.

The Key is Safety First

For seniors, relinquishing any independence can cause sadness and depression. For those who can still drive safely, the goal is to allow them to continue driving safely for as long as possible. None of the aids mentioned here are prohibitively expensive or difficult to install. But as long as they help folks to continue driving safely and experience the joy of independent travel, they are priceless.