Some Cars Better Than Others for Older Drivers

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Older adults who continue to drive into their 80s have a more than five-fold risk of getting into a fatal accident than middle-aged motorists, according to a new Consumer Reports analysis.

Age-related declines in sight, reflexes and mental acuity can make the task of driving more difficult and dangerous for an elderly person. Many states have implemented special requirements for seniors seeking to renew their driver's licenses, including additional road tests and driver's education courses.

To an aging adult, a car represents a source of much-needed mobility in a world where grocery stores, doctor's offices and shopping centers often aren't within walking distance. Most seniors are understandably reluctant to relinquish the keys to such a vital piece of freedom.

Companies are beginning to include extra features in vehicles aimed at keeping older adults behind the wheel longer. Features like large buttons, backup cameras, and programs that will notify a driver if they've veered out of their lane are becoming commonplace in many recently-made automobiles.

In their investigation, Consumer Reports included a list of cars recommended for older drivers. These automobiles were chosen based on how they scored in assessments of visibility, controls, driving position, comfort and access.

Their list of senior-friendly vehicles includes:

  • Subaru: Impreza (2012), Legacy (2010-2013), Outback (2010-2013), and Forrester (2009-2012)
  • Mercury: Sable (2008-2009)
  • Infiniti: M (2006-2010)
  • Hyundai: Azera (2006-2011) and Genesis (2009-2012)
  • Toyota: Avalon (2005-2012), Camry (2007-2012), Highlander (2004-2012), and RAV4 (2006-2012)
  • Honda: Accord V6 (2006-2007) and Accord (2008-2012)
  • Nissan: Altima (2010-2012)
  • Volkswagen: Tiguan (2009-2012)
  • Ford: Taurus (2008-2009)
  • Lexus: RX (2006-2009)
  • Acura: RDX (2013)
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2 Comments

dads 86 drives a chevy colorodo. this is a real nice handeling, 4 door pickup. it sounds like it would be huge, but its not. ive driven it before and it really handles like a strong comfy car.
one thing i put on dads steering wheel, in the old days they called them 'brodie knobs' but its a round grip like they have on tracktors, it makes it much easier for him to be able to park and do corners, his right shoulder fails if he has to lift his arm up high. this 'spinner knob' is perfect. he wouldnt be able to drive without it. ive always had them in my cars,i like them.
police used to give tickets for them because they nortirous for busting thumbs, but cars nowadays dont have steering wheels that snap back ( anyone remember what i mean? old cars the steering wheel would snap the other way when you crank it one way or the other) so cops dont have a big problem anymore. and i asked a police captain that i went to dinner with .
My father like many of his generation fought in WWII so he had a dislike for cars that were not American (in his mind that would be GM,Ford,Chrysler).Many of my relatives of that age group were the same so I would add a few more so called American cars to that list.I bought our folks their last car - a new Chevy Malibu with all the safety features because it was not too large and not too small.It was a small token for all the years they drove me and my siblings around and let us drive it for personal use despite being the only car they owned ( a great leap of faith when your dealing with teenage boys).My dad became confused one day and caused a bad accident and thankfully no one was hurt.The court pulled his drivers license for good so I sold the car after the major repairs and bought another Malibu for myself.I drove them everywhere in that car.They are gone now but I find it hard to sell the car because it was our last 'family' car and lots of memories good and bad remain when I drive it.FYI : both Malibu's have been great cars and the one he wrecked probably saved his life because it was so well designed.