Three Things To Consider When Buying A Car For An Older Driver

Time changes everything, and that includes a person's ability to drive safely on the roads. The older a person is, the more important it becomes to choose a vehicle with features that help address issues—such as visibility and access—many senior drivers struggle with. Here are a few things to pay particular attention to when purchasing a vehicle for an older driver.


It's an unfortunate fact that age brings with it many issues that affects a person's mobility. According to the Center for Disease Control, 26.5 million people 65 and over had at least one problem that limited their actions and activities. Therefore, one of the top things you should consider when car shopping is how easy it is to enter and exit the vehicle.

You don't want a vehicle that sits so low that it requires the driver to stoop to get in. At the same time, you don't want something that sits so high off the ground the driver can't lift his or her leg high enough to enter (or has to jump down to get out). However, the right vertical height for the driver will depend on a number of factors, such as how tall the person is, his or her mobility issues, and the vehicle's features.

For instance, the Toyota Highlander has an 8-inch ground clearance, which means the driver would have to lift his or her leg at least 8 inches to get inside the SUV. Generally, this may not be the best option for short people or those who have trouble raising their legs. However, you can modify the vehicle to the person's needs by installing a running board the person can step on to get inside the SUV.

Consider the driver's physical abilities and try to match them to vehicle's height and ground clearance as closely as possible.


Eyesight is another issue that affects older drivers. Although many vision problems can be corrected using glasses, contacts, or surgery, it's still a good idea to shop for a vehicle that lets the driver see as much of the road as possible, which typically means ones with large windows and the smallest blind spots possible.

Luckily, modern technology can also help with this problem. Many cars, SUVs, and trucks for sale now have cameras installed on the side and rear of the vehicles that capture activity happening beside and behind the driver and displays that information on a screen underneath the dashboard. This minimizes the need for the driver to strain his or herself turning to and fro in the seat to check blind spots before putting the vehicle in motion.

Be aware, though, that you'll likely have to train your loved one on how to use this technology, which can be challenging if the person is used to driving older vehicles that don't have this tech. So be prepared to spend a few day, weeks, or months riding shotgun and helping your loved one adjust.


Speaking of technology, unless your loved one is hip to all the latest gadgets and enjoys using them, it may be best to get a vehicle with as little modern tech as possible. With so many buttons that do multiple things when you push them, it can be easy for someone who's not used to that level of detail to get confused and flustered. Opt for cars with the simplest dashboards possible, and make sure the controls are large, clearly marked and readily accessible.

For more tips on purchasing a vehicle for an older person or help picking one out for your friend or family member, visit a dealership.