AAA study finds most senior drivers don’t make vehicle adjustments that can improve safety

Most senior drivers surveyed by the AAA Foundation are not taking advantage of simple, inexpensive features that can improve safety and extend their time behind the wheel. Nearly 90 percent of older drivers do not make inexpensive adjustments to their vehicles that may help improve safety, according to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Common vehicle additions like seat cushions, larger mirrors, and steering wheel covers can help reduce a senior driver’s crash risk by providing greater comfort and safe control of the vehicle. This in turn may also benefit seniors’ mental health by helping to extend their time on the road. 

Previous research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that seniors who have stopped driving are almost twice as likely to suffer from depression, and nearly five times more likely to enter a long-term care facility than those who remain behind the wheel.

Seniors driving

What is the LongROAD study?

With nearly 3,000 participants, the Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) study is the largest and most comprehensive database on senior drivers. It will support in-depth studies of senior driving and mobility over a number of years to better understand risks and develop effective countermeasures.

Driving

What have we learned?

Conditions impacting a driver’s muscles or bones are of particular concern. More than 70 percent of senior drivers in the LongROAD study had experienced health conditions impacting muscles and bones such as arthritis, hip and/or knee replacements, and joint pain.

Installing products such as steering wheel covers can help lessen the impact of arthritis. Larger mirrors and assistive devices on seats can benefit drivers with limited neck mobility. 

Senior resources

Senior driving resources

In collaboration with the American Society on Aging, AARP, and the American Occupational Therapy Association, AAA developed CarFit, a program in which trained technicians conduct a comprehensive 12-point check of a senior’s vehicle, and then recommend helpful adjustments to make driving safer and more enjoyable. 

AAA can help senior drivers prolong their driving years by learning to sharpen their reflexes and maintain mobility. AAA offers senior driving traffic safety and educational programs that aim to help keep mature drivers safely behind the wheel.

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