By Aimee Sterk, LMSW
Paging through my latest AAA magazine, I noticed they were promoting their resources for older drivers and their families: SeniorDriving.AAA.com. While I am not an older driver, my husband and I both have noticed our vision at night is not what it used to be, especially on rainy nights, so I decided to check out the website for hints and tips for myself and to blog about. You may also want to check out my blog from late last year Stickshifts and Safety Belts for other AT for driving.
There are a couple of areas of the website I found particularly useful. The first, RoadWiseRx, which allows you to enter the medications you are taking, check for possible interactions, and check for driver warnings. I learned that the blood pressure medication I am on, when combined with one of the antidepressants I take, has a potentially moderate interaction with the antidepressant increasing the effects of the blood pressure medication. Interesting (and in my case, ok). I also learned of some side effects that may or may not impact my driving abilities. This confidential web portal is worth a look.
Even more interesting and potentially useful is the website’s Smart Features page. On this page, you can select your needs from a list including: limited knee range of motion; hip or leg pain; short statured; overweight; arthritis in the hands; decreased motor skills; limited upper body range of motion; back, neck, shoulders arms; diminished vision; or cognitive decline.
When you select one of the needs, a list of potential features that might help pops up. For example, for cognitive decline, the site lists classically designed cars—a less is more approach reduces distractions and improves familiarity with controls; high contrast instrument panel for better visibility with quick glances; and a rain sensor to turn wipers on and off automatically to lessen driver distraction.
One of the suggestions for limited upper body range of motion is a rear back up camera. Having this disability myself, I have loved that my new car is equipped with this feature. For limited knee or hip range of motion recommendations include a low door threshold and adjustable foot pedals. Keyless ignition is a great AT device for people with arthritis in their hands which often results in difficulty twisting ignition keys.
With Smart Features, you can select the features you are looking for and then get a list of cars that have those features to consider along with their MSRP and fuel economy ratings. I was pretty excited when I selected for comfortable seats, back up camera, and tilting/telescoping wheel, along with “classic car” design, my Toyota RAV4 did come up as an option.
Overall I think the website is a great resource for drivers with disabilities of any age and worth a look. I just scratched the surface; there are many more areas of the site I haven’t checked out yet.
What devices and features help you drive? What features do you wish were available? Will you give the website a look?Tweet