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What should I do if my wife can’t reach the pedals of our minivan?

My wife has difficulty driving our minivan. She has to extend her toes to reach the gas and brake pedals. She has moved the driver's seat forward, but can only move it so far. This seems very unsafe to me. Is there any safe attachment that she could put on the pedals so she can reach them with more of her foot? – Robert

The inability to place her foot firmly on the pedals is not my only concern. If the seat is fully forward and she can still barely reach the pedals, I will have to assume that she is also sitting very close to the steering wheel and ultimately the driver's side airbag.

Even with recent improvements to air bag deployment that accommodate varying driver/occupant sizes and impact speeds, it is still generally recommended that the driver's chest be at least 25 centimetres from the steering wheel.

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Pedal extenders can be installed, which will offer her sure-footed confidence, but I doubt that they also assist in achieving a superior sitting position. Plus, once these pedal extenders are installed in the van, they may negatively affect all other drivers.

Perhaps a dedicated car, just for her, set up by professionals? Otherwise, maybe it's time to head back into the marketplace and search for a vehicle that features superior seat adjustment, telescoping steering wheels and adjustable pedals.

Your van likely has at least a couple of these features, but sitting positions vary widely between manufacturers and need to be explored.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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