Our driving skills and car requirements evolve over the years and by the time we reach senior status, we will often be driving a car that is quite different to what started out in.
The important point to remember is that if you are trying to keep your parents on the road for as long as possible but obviously want to keep them safe behind the wheel, you will need to help them choose the right car for their current needs.
Many of the major car manufacturers such as Chevrolet and others, have a lot of safety features that incorporate the latest technology as a standard feature in many of their models.
You should have no problems finding a vehicle which can help an elderly driver retain greater control and a higher level of awareness of their surroundings and this means that their chances of staying safe on the road are enhanced.
Some of the features that would be relevant to an elderly driver includes electronic stability control (ESC). This is a feature that uses strategically placed sensors around the vehicle to detect and then prevent a vehicle from going out of control.
Head-protecting side or curtain airbags are also a necessary safety feature and even more low-tech features such as a thick steering wheel that requires less hand and wrist strength and a low door threshold to make getting in and out the car easier, are all things that might help make the driving experience safer and more comfortable.
One the big reasons why some people choose an SUV or a truck is because it offers great visibility and some might therefore be tempted to consider a vehicle like this for an elderly driver.
The trade-off for achieving good visibility is that a senior might actually struggle to get in and out of their vehicle as result of the height of the cabin and especially if they are not particularly tall.
If you are looking at a bigger vehicle, remember that maneuverability and handling have to be considerations and the driver must be tall enough to see over the dash and hood with ease and also be able to reach the pedals without a stretch.
Elderly driver safety features
A lot of modern vehicles have a stack of safety features incorporated as standard but there are also some smart features that are particularly relevant to senior drivers.
If you are shopping for a car that is going to be suitable for an elderly driver, there a few features that you might want to consider putting on your checklist.
Wide angle mirrors and a blind spot warning system would be good to have, as would parking proximity sensors and a collision warning system. Also ask the dealer whether the car you are interested in is able to provide crash anticipation, which activates a tightening of the seatbelts when a crash is perceived to be imminent.
Rear view cameras and a feature that warns of a lane departure might also prove to be an asset in a difficult situation, as would automatic braking systems (ABS).
Another important consideration when trying to choose a suitable model for an elderly driver is to ensure that a vehicle has features that help with or counteract any physical limitations that they might have.
We all suffer a deterioration in our sight and other physical features to a certain extent as we get older, but we also want to retain our independence, which means being able to drive for as long as possible.
Part of your strategy for helping an elderly person choose the right vehicle for their needs and physical limitations, is to note any relevant health issues and then look for features that you can add to a car in order to deal with them.
Limited vision can be addressed to some extent by having a high contrast control panel and glare reducing mirrors as well as extendable sun visors are things that can be a big help.
If there are any back, hip or leg issues to contend with, adjustable foot pedals and fully-adjustable seats can assist in resolving any physical problems like this. Limited range of motion can also be addressed with features like blind spot detectors and gears, controls and accessories that are made easier to reach through design.
Take the time to work out the features and size of vehicle that you believe will fit the needs of an elderly driver, then talk them over with the dealer so that you get a car that helps keep them on the road and as safe as possible.
Erik Hervas is a Marketing expert at Patiotuerca.com, a company that publishes car listings in Ecuador. They provide a friendly platform to help users sell their cars and attract buyers by promoting the listings through many channels. Erik has worked for many companies in marketing and he is currently seeking to succeed with Seminuevos.com. He graduated as Food Engineer in 2004 but after owning his business he decided to pursue a career in the Marketing field. He currently reside in Ecuador with his wife and two children.