I want to start this article with a visual. It’s a cliché but it’s a visual. You’re driving down the road and a car is moving slow in front of you. You go to pass them and as you do, you sort of get a look at the driver. It’s a little old lady and the poof of the top of her hair is just about the only thing raised above the steering wheel. Like I said, it’s a cliché but I bet you’ve seen it. The truth is we all change as we get older. How we change as we age may also be affecting our experience as a driver.
Older drivers are in many ways safer drivers than their younger counterparts. However, unlike younger drivers, arthritis and other rigidity issues can come into play, particularly when it comes to blind spots for seniors. The same can be said of changes in your vision. Add to that an increasing fragility with age and the need for the optimum safety/comfort experience behind the wheel becomes that much more important.
With that in mind, AARP, AAA, and the American Occupational Therapists teamed up to create CarFit. What is CarFit? It’s an educational program designed to make sure your car gives you the safest and most comfortable experience possible. CarFit events are held locally in cities all over the country and you’ll likely be in and out in less than a half hour. At each event, drivers and their vehicles check into a 12 point inspection to help determine a proper fit in their car.
The 12 areas addressed during the CarFit program are:
- Are you the only driver of vehicle?
- Seat belt check
- Steering wheel tilt, Position to Air Bag and Head Restraint
- Distance between chest and steering wheel
- Line-of-sight above steering wheel
- Position to gas pedal
- Position to brake pedal
- Mirror adjustments
- Neck mobility and blind spot check
- Ignition key or system
- Operation of vehicle controls
- Review of checklist
CarFit hosts local events backed by volunteers in your community to help better adjust seniors to their cars and their cars to them. While many senior driver education programs exist out there, they tend to be geared towards general driving knowledge. CarFit is concerned with the personal experience you have in your own car. Even the slightest change that may come from attending one of their events is worth it if it improves how you feel and react in your vehicle.
Check CarFit out here.