The fastest growing segment on the road today is not hybrids or flex-fuel vehicles, crossovers or performance sport sedans. It is drivers 65 and older. According to the according to the American Automobile Association, there are 29 million older drivers on the road today.
We all age differently, so it is important to recognize how your body is changing, not just at the gym or on the tennis court or ski slope, but behind how you drive:
Age 40 — multi-tasking becomes more challenging, such as concentrating at the same time on the navigation system and the traffic in front of you. Also, recovery from glare is reduced, which affects your comfort level driving at night.
Age 60 — muscle strength and range of motion decrease by as much as 25 percent. That affects your ability to get in and out of the vehicle, and how easily and far you can turn around in the driver seat to check conditions in the blind spot.
Age 70 – arthritic joints can make it difficult to grasp the steering wheel, and diabetes, stroke or Parkinson’s disease can affect perception.
And, any time, conditions such as hip or knee surgery, further affect mobility. But it’s not all bad news. AAA and the University of Florida’s Older Driver Research and Training Center have identified vehicle features that address these conditions, to help us drive safely and comfortably in the so-called mature years.
Although the report is called Smart Features for Mature Drivers, many of these features work for anybody considering buying a new car soon, whether that’s a 2010 model, or a certified pre-owned used car.
Here are some features that work for all of us, whether older or younger —