For those of us with a car, driving means freedom. For seniors, it can be the difference between seeing family often and having an active social life or being stuck at home. As long as your eyesight remains okay and you’re medically cleared to drive, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t strike out on your own.
To help, these auto accessories will make any trip easier, even if you have mobility issues. Most of them are under $50 and can make getting in and out of the car and long trips so much more comfortable.
1. Stander HandyBar
The Stander HandyBar is a three-in-one auto safety must-have. Its primary purpose is to help people with limited mobility get in and out of a car with ease.
This convenient tool slides into the door latch on either the driver or passenger side of the car and can be used as a convenient handle for leveraging yourself in and out of car seats. It supports up to 350 pounds of weight and will not damage any part of the car even with repeated use. Plus, it can be used as a seat belt cutter and a window breaker in case of emergency.
The Stander HandyBar retails for $24.99 from Amazon.
2. Padded Swivel Seat Cushion
For many seniors, getting into a car requires leverage that their back and knees just can’t handle. Instead of dropping down into the seat and having to force your legs forward, this $14.70 Padded Swivel Seat Cushion from Drive Medical does the swiveling for you.
Just put the comfortable circular cushion on a car seat, and it will allow you to turn up to 360 degrees without effort. It can easily be moved from seat to seat, as it’s only 3.2 pounds.
3. Drivers Road Hazard Tote Kit
A car accident can be a dangerous and traumatic experience. Although the best way to prevent a car accident is to be a cautious and safe driver, accidents still happen. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to be prepared.
The Drivers Road Hazard Tote Kit has everything a senior would need to handle any roadside emergency. Packed inside a reflective triangle-shaped case, this kit contains jumper cables, gloves, a ratchet set, a tire pressure gauge, and a variety of other tools. It is available from Elderluxe for $49.99.
4. Car Caddie
The convenient Car Caddie is designed to make getting in and out of your car easier. It’s a simple nylon strap with a soft, comfortable grip that slides over your car’s window frame.
Once the caddie is in place, you can use the loop as leverage to lift yourself safely out of your vehicle. It’s completely adjustable, so it fits on to any car, regardless of make or model. Moreover, it can bear up to 250 pounds at a time and won’t damage the window frames of your vehicle.
Manufactured by Stander, the Car Caddie costs $13.
5. Freedom Staff Portable Handicap Thumb Control Driving Tools
Having limited mobility in your legs doesn’t have to mean you’re stuck in the passenger seat.
The Freedom Staff Portable Handicap Thumb Control Driving Tools are made specifically for people who don’t have the use of their legs. They hook right on to the gas and brake pedals and allow you to control both with one hand while you operate the steering wheel with the other. They will work on any vehicle with automatic transmission. They only weigh four pounds, so they can be transferred between vehicles with ease.
Normally available for $280. Right now, they’re on sale for $179.95 at Mobility-Aids.com
6. Seat Belt Extender
This easy seat belt extender snaps into a seat belt and makes it easier for people with limited mobility in their torso and hands to safely buckle up. A long stainless-steel tongue fits into the original seat belt, and a new buckle extends a few inches into the air to make it easier to find.
The extender will fit on most vehicles, but not necessarily all. Check your car seat buckle beforehand to make sure this extender is compatible.
The extender is available for $20.99 on Amazon.
7. Lower Back Lumbar Support Pillow
Car journeys of any length can be painful when you have back issues or need additional support. Luckily, this handy lumbar support pillow is specifically designed for use in cars.
This support pillow is made with memory foam covered in a breathable mesh fabric cover, so you won’t be too hot even on longer journeys. Plus, it comes with a convenient adjustable strap that can affix to the car seat, which makes it much safer than a loose pillow.
Available through Amazon, this lumbar support pillow only costs $22.95.
8. Seat Belt Grabber Handle
If you need a little extra help reaching back to buckle your seat belt, pick up a $7.98 seat belt grabber handle.
This handle sits on the seat belt and gives you an extra-long handle to grab so you don’t have to strain when you reach over your shoulder. It’s great for someone with limited torso mobility or arthritis, who just needs a bit of extra help.
AAA recommends that seniors avoid modifying their car or fixing mobility issues with ad-hoc solutions like pillows or blocks. These “solutions” could end up causing safety issues if they dislodge or slip in a critical moment. Instead, use these specially-manufactured assistive auto accessories, which are always designed with safety in mind.