The Safest Cars for Over 55 Communities in Barnegat, NJ
One may assume that when reaching the golden years –or getting close to it –the need to commute decreases considerably. While this can be the truth for many retirees, having a means of transportation is still an essential factor for plenty of people’s quality of life. In fact, this is true whether a person is 20 years old, 30 years old, or over 55. Communities in Barnegat, NJ are filled with active seniors who are very mobile; they have hobbies, visit friends, and take drives up the coast and into the countryside—you name it!
Unfortunately, the norm for automakers has traditionally been to focus on developing modern, sleekly-designed models that do not take into consideration the needs of seniors when considering specific features. For example, an edgy-looking, low car represents a nuisance for an elder who has trouble entering or exiting the vehicle.
Aware of the tendency of carmakers to favor specific demographics, Ford has taken note. They are leading the automaker packs by being vocal on the subject and taking action to create cars that consider the needs of our 55 plus communities.
It is not only about mobility issues; most new cars feature touch-screen controls and “overly techy” equipment that can be confusing for anyone—especially for non-digital natives, such as those over 55. Communities in Barnegat, NJ are the perfect example of how seniors are still ready for adventure and ready to enjoy a much-deserved retirement. Having a reliable automobile, or other means of transportation, is paramount to ensure seniors can still get around and enjoy mobility!
These days, there are few options for seniors who want to get around comfortably without public transportation. The first one is to purchase a senior-friendly vehicle –we will review a few great automobiles currently on the market below. If driving is not an option, there is another great choice available today: Lyft and Uber. Before you cringe, imagining you or your loved one confused by such Apps, there’s also unique customization in this realm, specifically aimed at making these apps easier for seniors. We’ll dive into these as well.
PURCHASE A SENIOR-FRIENDLY MODEL
There are some basic criteria for elders to consider when purchasing a car. These are the same criteria that are utilized to grade the vehicle on what is called the “Senior Life Stage Score”. Factors include:
- Good Visibility
- Easy Access
- Quiet Cabin
- Enhanced Safety Features
- Excellent Ride Quality.
Some of these may sound obvious; for instance, in terms of safety, an automatic emergency braking system and a forward collision warning are imperative. Other features may be a bit more challenging to grade in a car. For example, hearing capability is quite important when driving and the noise level in the cabin can be a determinant variable for those with hearing impairments, which are not uncommon in people over 55. Active adults living in communities in Barnegat, NJ, who often live quiet and relaxing lives can probably appreciate this quality!
Analyzing Ford’s “Third Age Suit” is helpful to understand what kinds of features are desired when purchasing an elder-friendly model. Ford’s empathy mindset does not forget to take into consideration mobility, vision, or hearing impediments. It is all about making the car comfortable and enjoyable—while still being safe and good-looking.
Ergonomists and engineers working for the American automaker say they view their customers not only as a statistic but as people with needs and wishes. It’s wonderful for people to be heard and understood, especially people in their golden years, or over 55. Communities in Barnegat, NJ, have done their homework, translating senior requests and aspirations into comfortable, delightful accommodations, like Barnegat 67. And Ford’s “Third Age Suit” is aimed to do the same for cars.
Using a Suit that Emulates Impairments to Build Empathy in Automobile Engineers
From customers that cannot buckle their seatbelt, to clients that complain of overcomplicated dashboards, engineers and ergonomists at Ford consider every possible comment. Their goal? Provide seniors with independence and the ability to be behind the wheel for as long as they wish.
The program is pretty interesting: it involves top-of-the-art technology to simulate physical limitations. An actual suit is created to emulate a variety of physical conditions that seniors may experience. The engineers wearing the suit have a better understanding of the circumstances faced, and can therefore work better to develop tools and features that facilitate the driving of vehicles. From limb mobility issues to goggles that emulate vision impairments brought on by glaucoma (there’s even a feature that imitates symptoms of Parkinson’s disease!) the suit provides an experience unmatched to the engineers. With creativity and empathy sparked, engineers can apply this new knowledge to their designs!
Some of the designs brought to life thanks to the suit include:
- Vision has been improved thanks to adjustments made to the mirrors, windshield, and dashboard.
- The access to some features has become less complicated by raising buttons (for instance, for climate control).
- Seatbelts are much easier to find and fasten.
- The doors are more comfortable to open –and have been made bigger. There isn’t much need to twist or bend when entering the vehicle anymore.
- Color contrast and other visual adjustments make the reading of the odometer less complicated.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Recommendations
When it comes to a safety list, you cannot err when consulting the IIHS’s list. The Institute carries a thorough car evaluation before assigning its “Top Safety Pick” and many other media sites use their list as a reference. Forbes and CNN Money, for example.
Before acquiring a new –or used –vehicle, the IIHS recommends taking into consideration the following (especially if the driver will be a senior):
- Safety Features. When we think about safety features, we often consider the driver and passengers from our car; but safety goes beyond that. Preventing an accident means no third-party will be hurt, and no infrastructure will be damaged. The IIHS researched accident prevention and concluded the following:
o Automatic braking systems and front crash prevention reduce front-to-rear accidents by half.
o Lane departing warning systems can avoid tens of thousands of crashes per year.
o Collision avoidance features reduce crashes by 21%
- Bigger means safer. For years the public has been aware of larger cars providing more safety than smaller ones. The reason is quite simple; they weigh much more. That does not mean you need to purchase a trailer; it just means that by getting an SUV, you’re reducing –by half –your chances of crashing.
- Distractors are potentially dangerous. A TV, multiple microphones, seating capacity for over five people are just a few of the features that look good on paper but represent a risk for those who need to pay special attention to the road.
So, which cars does the Institute recommend for drivers over 55? Communities in Barnegat, NJ such as Barnegat 67, are filled with all sorts of vehicles, from sporty to luxurious. Nonetheless, if you are reading this, there is something additional in your mind: safety and comfort.
Here are a few of the options the IIHS recommends:
Subaru Forester. With an outstanding 88 score, the Forester’s uncomplicated access is an excellent choice for both growing families and seniors. To add up, the Forester offers great visibility and easy-to-reach controls. Price range: $24,295-$34,295
Hyundai Santa Fe. The Institute has given the Santa Fe a high score of 82. Its best features? The amount of support in the front seats and the easy-to-use controls. The cabin also offers ample space –and by the way, it is super quiet! Price range: $25,500-$38,800
Kia Sorento. Tying up with the Santa Fe –with an 82 score also, the Sorento is an excellent choice for golden drivers. The ride is smooth and reliable, and the controls are straightforward. Price range: $25,990-$46,490
A few other options are: the Hyundai Sonata, the Toyota Sienna and, the Subaru Ascent.
Uber and Lyft Come to the Rescue for Those Who Cannot Drive
Not all older adults wish to drive. Not all can drive, due to various financial or physical limitations. While younger generations may perceive using Lyft or Uber as an obvious and uncomplicated choice, it’s not quite so intuitive for elders. Elders are not Millennials, and many of them do not even own a smartphone. Some just prefer to abstain from confusing technologies and others try, but find them unintuitive and challenging.
However, there’s another option for them. Here’s how GreatCall and Lyft have paired up to provide service for seniors:
- Customers of GreatCall can press zero to speak to an operator. This operator—who has access to Lyft’s platform—books a ride for them. The operator also contacts the driver and lets him or her know they will be picking up a senior. They also inform the driver of further assistance required. The customers get billed on their GreatCall’s statement, making it simple—you don’t even need an uber account!
RideWith24 and Uber have come up with their own process:
- RideWith24, unlike GreatCall, provides a 1-800 number to contact Uber via phone call. Once the operator answers the customer, he or she will ask for a credit card to bill the charges. Currently, the transportation system is available in Texas, California, and Arizona, but most likely will continue to expand throughout the country and to the east coast!
Living the life in the golden years
You may be fortunate enough to be one of the lucky seniors who enjoy perfect health. Even so, after a certain age, our body asks for minor changes to stay comfortable. This can include driving a car more adept to different needs. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that our peripheral vision is not what it used to be; it only means we have put our eyes to good use for decades!
Fortunately, there are options for seniors to come and go as they please. Whether by purchasing a car that meets their specific requirements, or utilizing apps like Uber and Lyft –with or without a third party involved.
So do not let a number decide the places and activities you enjoy. As the saying goes: “The youth can drive faster, but the elder knows the road.”