Help for Older Drivers
Getting older can lead to physical challenges that include decreased range
of motion, difficulty entering and exiting vehicles, and decreased manual dexterity.
But such challenges don’t automatically mean seniors have to give up driving.
Occupational therapists and driver rehabilitation specialists assessing senior
driver needs can put clients in touch with adaptive devices that can restore
their driving mobility. For more information on the potential solutions listed
below and how they can help preserve safety and independence for on-the-go seniors,
- larger panoramic rear and side mirrors.
- pedal extenders to better reach the brake and accelerator while keeping
the seat back at a safe distance (11”) from the airbag in the steering wheel.
- hand controls for the brake and gas.
- car lifts and carrying devices for a wheelchair or a scooter.
- steering device to aid in grabbing the wheel and making turns easier or
- seat belt adapters to make belts easier to reach, improve fit and make
release buttons easier to operate for arthritic hands (ribbons attached to
seat belts can assist in reaching for the belt).
- special torso restraints to hold the driver upright.
- turn-signal crossovers to shift operation of turn signals to the other
side or to the floor for foot operation (to use the driver’s stronger leg
- extra-loud turn signal clickers or relocated/ brighter turn signal indicators
on the dashboard.
- left-foot accelerator pedal for those with limited or no use of the right
- touch pads or voice-scan activation systems for car controls and electronic
joystick controls for steering, gas pedal and brake.
- hand grips to assist the driver or passengers in getting in or out of the
- leg lifter that allows for ease of transfers and pivoting into the seat.
A loop is placed over the foot to assist in manually lifting the leg into
the vehicle. Also, an alternative is to move the leg into the vehicle by pulling
on a pant leg or manually lifting the thigh.
This article originally appeared in the September 2007 issue of Mobility Management.