Small changes could prevent older people from driving longer


WEDNESDAY, Nov. 29, 2017 (HealthDay News) – Older drivers can make their cars safer, but few do, a new study finds.

Pedal extensions, for example, help create a safe distance from the steering wheel / airbag and maximize visibility, say safety experts. Seat cushions improve line of sight and can reduce back and hip pain, while steering wheel covers improve grip.

But a survey of nearly 3,000 American drivers aged 65 or older found that less than 10 percent made use of these or other simple safety adaptations. according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

"Although many elders are considered safe drivers, they are also the most vulnerable," said David Yang, executive director of the foundation.

Drivers age 65 and older are more than "Our research suggests that most older drivers do not take advantage of simple and economical features such as steering wheel covers that can damage twice as many younger drivers", he said in a press release from the foundation.

"We greatly improved their safety and that of others on the road," Yang said.

And even among older drivers who had such devices, almost 90 percent did not follow the recommended advice and worked with a professional apprentice to install them, according to the survey.

More than seven in 10 of the drivers in the study had health conditions that affect the muscles and bones, such as arthritis, hip / knee replacement, and joint pains.

Elin Schold-Davis is the project coordinator for the initiative of older drivers of the American Association of Occupational Therapy. She said: "When a pain or pain begins to hamper the ability to drive, many older drivers can continue to drive safely after making some adjustments."

Occupational therapists can help recommend the right changes, Schold-Davis said. They are "especially valuable in connecting the dots between the medical challenges that can affect driving and the appropriate equipment and the adaptations necessary to remain independently safe in the vehicle," he added.

Other car adjustments that can help older people stay on the road already include convex or multi-faceted mirrors that increase visibility and minimize blind spots. In addition, manual controls can allow people to drive without using their feet, the AAA Foundation said.

More information

The National Institute of American Aging. UU It has more information about the older drivers.

SOURCE: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, press release, November 29, 2017

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