Program offers a fitting solution

Published 8:41 am Monday, April 28, 2014

Photo by Brandon Hicks

Kayla Bierbaum checks Opal Russell’s car during the Car Fit program at the Elizabethton Senior Citizens Center.

Senior citizens in Carter County had the opportunity to make sure their car was the right fit for them on Friday.
The Seniors and Law Enforcement Together Council hosted the second Car Fit at the Elizabethton Senior Citizens Center. The event gave seniors the chance to have their car checked out to make sure it was as safe and as functional as it could be for the driver.
“We are not seeing how the car runs, we are seeing how the driver fits in the car,” said Pete Voigt, SALT member.
SALT members and Milligan College occupational therapy students met with each driver who participated in Car Fit to adjust the car to best suit them. Volunteers looked over the seat belts, the distance from the seat to the steering wheel, lights on the car and the interior controls during the inspections.
Senior Center Director Kathy Dula said the Car Fit event was a big plus, and helped many of the members that visited.
“We have a lot that do drive in here themselves,” Dula said. “We have noticed that some can barely see over the dashboard, or they get new cars and they don’t know how to adjust the mirrors or there are features they don’t know about. By doing this, it helps them drive more comfortably and safely.”
Voigt said volunteers checked to make sure drivers were at least 11 inches away from the steering wheel when driving. He explained being any closer could result in serious injuries during a wreck.
Drivers were also given tips about hand placement on the steering wheel.
“We are always told to drive with our hands at 10 and 2,” Voigt said. “If you drive like that, and are in a crash, you will end up with two broken arms. Hands should be at a minimum of 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock.”
The drivers were given instruction on interior controls if needed. Volunteers checked brake lights, headlights, signal lights and hazard lights to make sure they were functioning.
Drivers are not asked for their names or the drivers licenses when taking part in Car Fit, and Voigt said no information is recorded from the event.
“Driving is a privilege and it is not up to us to take that away from someone,” Voigt said. “We just want to make sure everyone is driving as safe as they possibly can be.”

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