FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Edmunds.com Recognizes National Arthritis Month with Top 10 Mobility Awareness Issues in Vehicles; Recommends Six Vehicles for Those with Limitations
SANTA MONICA, CALIF. - May 20, 2004 - In recognition of National Arthritis Month, Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, today issued a list of the top 10 considerations for car-shoppers with mobility limitations such as arthritis. Edmunds.com editors also recommend six 2004 vehicles that that can more easily accommodate someone with mobility limitations.
"An estimated 43 million Americans have arthritis, according to the National Institute of Arthritis, and its symptoms can make it hard to do everyday movements such as driving a car," said Karl Brauer, Editor in Chief of Edmunds.com. "Many people may not be aware of what options are available in new vehicles that will allow them to drive more comfortably."
A number of current vehicles address the considerations listed by Edmunds.com. Edmunds.com recommends drivers with mobility limitations check out the 2004 Buick LeSabre, 2004 Cadillac Escalade, 2004 Chevrolet Venture, 2004 Pontiac Montana, 2004 Saturn ION and the 2004 Toyota Avalon.
For the complete article and a link to specific information on the vehicles recommended, go to http://www.edmunds.com/buyguide/mobilityguide.html.
The top 10 recommended considerations are:
Ignition Does the vehicle feature a dash-mounted ignition? Steering wheel-mounted ignitions require a twist of the wrist to get the car started a challenge for those with upper-body mobility challenges. Dash-mounted ignitions get the vehicle moving with less dexterity required of the driver.
Transmission Is the vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission? Wheelchair users relying on hand controls will have difficulty shifting manually. Fortunately, virtually all vehicles nowadays are available with an automatic transmission.
Controls Are the vehicle's knobs and switches large and easy to identify? Tiny knobs and switches can be daunting for those with conditions such as arthritis; here, bigger is definitely better. Additionally, a vehicle whose switchgear favors buttons over knobs is ideal, as buttons are easier for those with upper-body mobility challenges to navigate. Are the controls well placed? Ideally, controls should be strategically grouped so as to minimize stretching and reaching on the part of the driver.
Shifter Is the vehicle equipped with a buttonless shifter? Many shifters require drivers to depress a button in order to shift from park; this maneuver can be painful for some arthritis sufferers and impossible for those with more severe upper-body mobility issues. With a buttonless shifter, the need for such dexterity is eliminated. All vehicles equipped with steering column-located shifters offer buttonless shifting.
Locks and Windows Does the potential new purchase feature power locks and windows? Manual locks and windows can be difficult to navigate. And if the vehicle will be operated through the use of hand controls, power windows are especially useful at toll booths, when one hand will have to be on the steering wheel and the other on the brakes.
Seats For people with certain mobility challenges bench seats are preferred, as they are roomy and easy to access. Also, does the vehicle offer a power-adjustable driver seat? Power-adjustable seats with eight-way adjustment preferably allow drivers to alter the seat to best suit their physical needs. Heated seats are an option available with more and more vehicles. These seats are especially helpful for arthritics, as they warm the joints to alleviate soreness.
Entry Is the vehicle equipped with remote keyless entry? The twisting that is required to place a key in a lock and open a car door can be difficult or impossible for those with upper-body mobility issues. Also, are door openings wide enough to allow easy ingress and egress? Wider door openings also help facilitate easy loading and unloading of wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Pedals Does the vehicle offer adjustable pedals? This feature allows the driver to ergonomically optimize his or her seating position so that the vehicle may be powered with minimum strain on the legs and feet. For those suffering from stiffness in their lower limbs, this feature goes a long way toward enhancing driver comfort.
Cruise Control Does the vehicle offer cruise control? Cruise control frees the driver from having to keep his or her foot on the gas pedal, and can be very helpful for those with lower-body mobility issues. Even more useful is adaptive cruise control, which automatically decreases vehicle speed, if necessary, to keep a safe distance between vehicles. This system makes it less necessary to use the brake pedal rendering it valuable for those with lower-body mobility challenges.
Availability of Handicap-Capable Models Handicap-capable vans offer features such as lowered floors and automatic ramps. Some vans may be purchased without the second row of seats and floor coverings to better accommodate mobility scooters and wheelchairs.
About Edmunds.com, Inc.
Edmunds.com is the premier online resource for automotive information. Its comprehensive set of data, tools and services, including Edmunds.com True Market Value® pricing, is generated by Edmunds Data Services and is licensed to third parties. For example, the company supplies over 800,000 pages of content for the auto sections of AOL and NYTimes.com, provides weekly data to Automotive News and delivers monthly data reports to Wall Street analysts. Edmunds.com was named "best car research" site by Forbes ASAP, has been selected by consumers as the "most useful Web site" according to every J.D. Power and Associates New Autoshopper.com StudySM and was ranked first in the Survey of Car-Shopping Web Sites as reported by The Wall Street Journal. The company is headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif. and maintains a satellite office outside Detroit.