A Senior Car-Fit for Independent Drivers
You try on shoes and clothes to make sure they fit. You don’t like to wear shoes that pinch, pants that are too long, or shirts that are too tight. But, did you know that your car needs to fit you too? Especially the elderly. They need a good senior car-fit.
There’s an educational program for senior drivers to help you and your car fit together for safer driving. It’s called Car-Fit and the program is offered at events in various communities throughout the U.S. The purpose is to increase the safety of older drivers by making sure their cars are properly adjusted to fit their physical needs. The senior Car-Fit program was developed by AAA, AARP, and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Generally, senior drivers are safer drivers because they are more likely to drive at safe speeds and avoid risky behaviors. However, seniors can be seriously hurt in a car accident because of their more vulnerable physical conditions.
The Car-Fit Program
The Car-Fit program helps seniors check how they fit physically in their car and helps them to learn to adjust their car’s safety features to fit their needs. At a Car-Fit event, technicians and health professionals work with each driver to cover a checklist of items to evaluate the fit. The evaluation takes about 20 minutes, and the results are written and confidential.
The trained Car-Fit team will look at how the driver is positioned in the car seat, and make certain that the height and tilt of the seat is the adjusted correctly for comfort and range of motion. Also, the distance of the driver from the steering wheel is important because of the impact of an air bag in an accident. Finally, there should be at least 10 inches between the airbag, which is in the center of a steering wheel, and the chest of the driver.
Get a Good Fit
The team will see if the driver can easily reach the brake and gas pedals when properly seated. They will see if the senior driver can turn his head to check for a visual blind spot, or if he needs a panoramic rear-view mirror to make that important visual check. Does the driver know where the head restraint should be placed, and how to adjust it? The team will make recommendations if adjustments or adaptive equipment is needed. Most adaptive products of this kind are available as after-market parts at auto supply stores.
The senior car-fit program is free and for all senior drivers. To see if there’s an event near you, go to the website >
You can also read a brochure about the Car-Fit evaluation and learn some tips on making simple adjustments to your car for driving safety.
See the brochure at the Car-Fit website.