What is CarFit for the older driver?
CarFit is an educational program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them.
The CarFit program also provides information and materials on community-specific resources that could enhance their safety as drivers, and/or increase their mobility in the community.
CarFit is created by the American Society on Aging and developed in collaboration with AAA (American Automobile Association), AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Why is CarFit important?
Older drivers are often the safest drivers in that they are more likely to wear their seatbelts, and less likely to speed or drink and drive. However, older drivers are more likely to be killed or seriously injured when a crash does occur due to the greater fragility of their aging bodies.
Driver safety programs improve adult driver safety by addressing cognitive abilities and skills, however, older drivers can also improve their safety by ensuring their cars are properly adjusted for them. A proper fit in one’s car can greatly increase not only the driver’s safety but also the safety of others.
The program is designed to help older drivers find out how well they currently fit their personal vehicle, to highlight actions they can take to improve their fit, and to promote conversations about driver safety and community mobility. A proper fit in one’s personal vehicle can greatly increase not only the driver’s safety but also the safety of others.
How is a CarFit check completed?
At a CarFit appointment, a trained technicians works with the participant to ensure they “fit” their vehicle properly for maximum comfort and safety. A CarFit check takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
In What Ways Can CarFit Improve Road Safety?
Three quick examples underscore the importance of road safety to the CarFit program, which reviews twelve key areas of the driver’s fit to the personal vehicle.
- Example one: Knowing how to properly adjust one’s mirrors can greatly minimize blind spots for drivers who may wish to change lanes.
- Example two: Good foot positioning on the gas and brake pedals is important. If the driver is reaching with his or her toes to press on the pedals, it can cause fatigue in one’s leg and slowed reaction times.
- Example three: Drivers run a risk of serious injury if they are sitting closer than 10 inches to the steering wheel.
Is CarFit effective?
CarFit was pilot tested in 10 cities in the spring of 2005 with more than 300 older driver participants. Based on findings from the CarFit checklists completed at the events and follow-up surveys of participants, the program appears to be highly effective on multiple fronts. Some of the results show:
…over one-third (37%) had at least one critical safety issue needing addressed.
…one in ten (10%) were seated too close to the steering wheel.
…approximately 20% did not have a line of sight at least 3″ over the steering wheel.
In addition, the vast majority of those responding to the survey indicated that as a result of having gone through the CarFit event, they made a change to improve the fit of their vehicle, their use of safety features in their vehicle and/or their willingness to discuss their driving with family and/or health care providers.
How Can Drivers Sign Up for a CarFit Checkup?
Individuals wishing to take part in a CarFit Checkup should click here and look at the calendar of upcoming community events.
Contact us for a private appointment with a CarFit technician at How-To-Safety in Staten Island.