Unfortunately, there is the persistent and ageist belief that just because someone is old, they are not qualified to be behind the wheel. There are misconceptions that senior drivers cannot see, that they cause more accidents, and that they aren’t qualified to be on the road. While there are undeniably physical and mental changes that occur during the aging process that could affect the ability of someone to drive, there have also been technological advances that make driving safer with each year. These advances include voice assistants, parking assistants, and more senior friendly seating that all go towards to improving the overall driving conditions for seniors. If you’re looking to invest in a new car for your senior, then follow these tips to find the most senior-friendly car features on the market today.
Important Safety Features In Cars
The first step in finding the best car for a senior is to check the car’s crash safety rating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration creates test ratings for all vehicles and you can access their online database to find out how well each car performs during safety testing. The NHTSA has been testing car collision safety since 1970 and is the most trusted voice in the industry when it comes to establishing standard and ratings for vehicle safety.
Seniors may have difficulties with flexibility so it’s important to find a car that has back up cameras. Most newer car models come equipped with this feature. These cameras assist seniors by making reversing out of parking spaces much easier and less painful on the neck and back. If the car also has warning sounds and lights it can alert seniors to potential hazards directly behind the car surrounding area.
Blind Spot Monitor
A blind spot monitor is a device that uses sensors to scan the surrounding vehicle and alert the driver to any potential hazards in the driver’s blind spot alongside or directly behind them. Blind spot monitors usually include a warning light and sound that alerts the driver. Newer models may also include steering wheel vibrations.
Vehicles with an automatic tailgate are especially useful for seniors. This feature makes opening and closing the back much easier, which makes loading and unloading groceries less of a hassle. For seniors with poor mobility or upper body strength, an automatic tailgate will save them from potential strain or injury. With the push of a button, drivers can easily access their groceries.
Parallel Parking Assistance
This feature could be helpful not only for seniors but anyone that has difficulty parallel parking. Many drivers struggle with this action, so it’s unsurprising that this feature has been created. For a senior driver who lives or is going to live in an urban area, having this parallel parking assistance feature could be useful.
Power Adjustable Seats
This feature is important not for convenience, but also for making seniors feel more comfortable when climbing in and out of the seats. Drivers can adjust their seats backward and forward to create a safe entrance and exit for their vehicle. Once the driver is safely seated within the vehicle, they can adjust and move the seat closer to the pedals.
Adjustable Steering Wheel
The steering wheel plays one of the most important roles in driver safety. A comfortable, thick wheel can make it easier for someone with arthritis to grip and hold the wheel securely. Having an adjustable steering wheel also ensures that your senior driver can maintain a safe distance between their chest and the vehicle’s front airbag.
5 Vehicles for Seniors to Check Out
2018 Subaru Forester
The 2018 Subaru Forester is a compact SUV that is highly affordable and offers great benefits for senior drivers. It has great visibility with large windows and thin pillars and is extremely easy to climb in and out of. This vehicle comes standard with rearview cameras and all wheel drive features. Seniors can also upgrade this vehicle with the EyeSight safety system which includes blind spot detection, pre-collision braking, and lane departure warning.
2018 Hyundai Sonata
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata is one of the best and safest midsize cars on the market thanks to its comfortable amenities and simple approach to basic transportation. This model features extremely high reliability ratings and a great warranty plan, making it easy to on. It also features great fuel economy ratings. The Hyundai Sonata has a low ride height and it is easy for senior drivers to climb in and out of. The Sonata also has supportive seats, a rearview camera, and an easy to use dashboard that can quickly integrate with your phone.
2018 Toyota Highlander
The 2018 Toyota Highlander is an SUV that is highly recommended for senior drivers as it strikes a good balance between good visibility, comfortable seating, and style. The Highlander handles more like a car than an SUV, which is likely to appeal to older drivers who prefer that kind of handling action. This model comes standard with features such as rear view cameras, all wheel drive, proximity alerts, and many other active safety features.
2018 Buick Encore
The Buick Encore is a subcompact SUV that will arrive as a nice surprise for seniors accustomed to the older image of this legacy car brand. Its modern style and sleek look make this vehicle an upscale option that comes at an affordable price. This model is easy to enter and exit, with safety and reliability data courtesy of GM’s OnStar system that also provides automatic crash notifications and other useful services.
2018 Honda Odyssey
MSRP: $29,850 (Details Below)
The 2018 Honda Odyssey has excellent fuel economy, great safety scores, and excellent handling. As one of the best minivans on the market, this vehicle is a great alternative to an SUV because it offers ample space and is comfortable for seniors to climb in and out. The doors are large and slide, offering easy access for passengers and cargo.
If you’re looking for more senior living blogs and resources, make sure to read our informative blogs every week. They will provide answers to many senior living topics. If your thinking it may be time for your loved one to move into one of the best active retirement communities, Landmark Senior Living is the place for you. People. Passion. Purpose. That’s our mantra, and we live by it every day.