Car features and functions for the mature driver

Age appropriate carsPic: Getty

Slower reactions, aches and pains, and reduced mobility can all cause problems for older drivers, and that makes choosing the right car even more important.

We take a look at some of the features and functions you should look for in a new car to help you stay comfortable and safe on the road.

There's nothing wrong with a little comfort, and these days many manufacturers provide drivers with the ability to find their perfect driving position. Look for a model that allows you to adjust the seat height and offers good lumbar support. Some vehicles also give you the option of heated seats, which can help ease back aches and pains when driving long distances.

On the one hand, you might be tempted to go for the superior visibility and feeling of safety offered by a chunky 4x4. On the other, you may feel that a dinky little hatchback is more manoeuvrable. But the truth is, the height of the former could pose problems getting in and out, and the latter doesn't afford you much room to move. Instead, consider the happy medium of a mid-sized car and save yourself discomfort in the future.

These days cars come with a whole host of handy little technological features, and some can help you to stay safer on the road. Collision warning systems that alert drivers to a potential incident can be a great help if your reaction times are not too sharp, and some will even go one step further by automatically applying the brakes to minimise the effect of a collision.

For those who have difficulty turning or have reduced upper body mobility, a blind spot warning system will reduce the chances of problems to the side and rear of the car, and parking censors make life a lot easier. In fact, these days the likes of Volkswagen, Audi and Volvo have developed technology that does all the parallel parking work for you.

An easy life
As well as improved safety and comfort, most modern cars are designed to make life easy for drivers. For older people, simple, clear displays and gauges are a good choice, and controls on the steering wheel itself allow drivers to operate the stereo and air con without searching the centre console while on the road. Other useful features include auto high-beam technology, which automatically dips the lights for oncoming traffic, and auto-dimming rear and wing mirrors can help to reduce glare during night driving.

Lastly, don't dismiss the automatic gearbox option. These allow you to concentrate on the road without worrying about changing gear, and are an excellent choice if you are looking for a second-hand car, since they can often be picked up much more cheaply than their manual counterparts, and typically with much lower mileage.

Ultimately, which car you choose will depend largely on your personal preferences and needs, but it is worth doing your research to find a vehicle with features that could make your driving experience a safer, more comfortable and enjoyable one.

Are you a mature driver? Which features are your must-haves? Leave your comments below...