Vehicle safety features include those built into your car as well as those added to the car after your purchase that help older drivers drive longer and safer. Many cars today offer a wide range of safety features you can consider when you purchase a new car. These include automatic emergency braking, back-up cameras, blind spot monitors, forward collision warning/mitigation systems, and lane departure warning. You can review several items in the ChORUS Library about Safer Vehicles, including Vehicle Safety Features and Vehicle Modifications/Accommodations. Be sure to ask your car salesman safety features that may be offered and helpful for you. The Hartford Group prepared In the Driver’s Seat as a guide to help you understand and use vehicle safety technology.
If you aren’t buying a new car, you can still consider a range of adaptations to your current vehicle that will increase your ability to drive safely. These might include convex or multifaceted mirrors to improve visibility and minimize blind spots, pedal extensions to allow shorter drivers to keep a safe distance (12 inches) from the airbag in the steering wheel or seat belt extensions to help older drivers with limited mobility fasten their seat belt. A Driving Rehabilitation Specialist can help you identify the right adaptations for your particular situation. You may want to view this short video (length 2:22 minutes) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to see how adaptive equipment and a Driving Rehabilitation Specialist can help. As your medical conditions and capabilities change over time, you should consider follow-up consultations with a Driving Rehabilitation Specialist to continue to identify adaptations for your vehicle that will extend your driving time. (To find a Driving Rehabilitation Specialist near you, please visit the My State Info page.)