There are dozens of events held across the state every year to help parents fit their carseats for kids, and now there’s an event that helps those on the other end of the driving spectrum. Iowa Department of Transportation spokesperson, Dawn Hackleman, says the “CarFit” event at the state fairgrounds Wednesday will help senior drivers be sure their cars are properly set for safe driving.
She says they adjust the mirrors to reduce or minimize all the blind spots. Hackleman says during training she found she had a four foot blind spot on each side from the way she adjusts her mirrors. They also make sure the drivers have good foot position on the gas and brake pedals, and check to be sure they are sitting up high enough to see out the front window.
Hackleman says there are also some adjustments that can be made to the car to help the driver. Hackleman says there are seatbelt extenders, visor extenders, larger rear and side-view mirrors, handles to help with opening the car door, and hand controls for the steering wheel. Hackleman says the event was started by Triple-A and A.A.R.P. and the D.O.T. got involved to help out.
Hackleman says when they first talked to seniors about participating, those who had been driving for 50 or 60 years didn’t think it was necessary. She says they are not trying to be critical of senior driving skills, they’re just trying to increase safety.
“We don’t see a problem with the older drivers not being the safe drivers, because they are the safest drivers that we do have,” Hackleman says, “they’re not speeding they’re always wearing their seatbelts, they don’t drink and drive. So, it’s not necessarily that they are not safe drivers.”
Hackleman says as people age, their bodies get more fragile and there are adjustments that can help prevent injuries if there is an accident. Hackleman says many of the tips can improve the safety for all drivers. This is one of the first events of this type, and
Hackleman says they would like to do more. She says a lot of the senior centers would like to do an event at the center because people drive there, and they are looking at doing more events at the centers.
This event is part of a senior health fair at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Wednesday from nine a.m. until one p.m. Participants need to bring their own car.