CarFit Stresses In-Vehicle Precautions Older Drivers Should Take

Posted on November 14, 2013

Driving is one of those things we tend to take for granted as we get older.  Unfortunately, having decades of safe driving under our belts also means that we may fail to recognize the signs that our abilities are diminishing.  To combat this potentially dangerous problem, which will affect all of us at one point or another, AARP, AAA, the American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Society on Aging have put together a program called CarFit.

CarFit seeks to help drivers over the age of 65 remain secure in the knowledge that they’ll be safe behind the wheel of a vehicle.  The cornerstone of the program is the CarFit Checklist.  Persons who sign up for this service can obtain the assistance of a technician who will look over an individual’s vehicle to make sure it’s set up in the safest manner possible.  CarFit has put together a brochure that outlines those things the technician will keep an eye on.  Taking care of them, whether with the assistance of a professional or or on your own, will be vital to assuring safety.

One of the things most conducive to safe driving, yet easily one of the most overlooked, is the placement of the mirrors.  When you’re sitting in your ideal driving position, the middle rearview mirror should give you a wide view of the back windshield.  It shouldn’t be canted unnecessarily to one side or up or down.  To get the side mirrors into the best position possible, move your head to either side and adjust the mirrors so that only the sides of the vehicle are visible.  When you sit back up into your primary position, you will then hopefully have the best view possible of your blind spots.

Being able to see behind you is undermined if the position of your seat isn’t optimal.  You have to reach the pedals without straining your legs, which means you don’t want to place your seat too far back.  By the same token, though, you can’t be so close that the airbag would put you at risk if it goes off.  You need to be more than ten inches away from the wheel so that deployment wouldn’t do more damage than it’s seeking to prevent.

Finally, you need to be able to take part in certain activities without unnecessarily straining your body.  Buckling your seatbelt shouldn’t be a chore, nor should entering or exiting the automobile as a whole.  If you’re having problems with such activities, you might look into the installation of equipment that makes the tasks easier.

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