How Technological Innovation Is Keeping Seniors Driving
With an aging population, the number of seniors behind the wheel on our roads is growing. There were 40.1 million drivers aged 65 and over in 2015, an increase of 33% from the previous decade. Aging is a fact of life, and as we grow older, our reactions aren’t what they used to be. But this doesn’t mean elderly people have to stop driving cars. Today, new technologies are constantly being developed to act as driving aids, not only to seniors but everyone. With the help of these new developments, people will be able to keep driving and stay safer on the roads for longer.
One of the most exciting developments to happen to the automotive industry in recent years is the arrival of self-driving cars. These cars mean that seniors can extend the amount of time they can keep driving. Many seniors worry about their eyesight not being as good as it was, having slower reaction times and getting lost, but a self-driving car can help a person feel confident when on the road and to help them keep their independence. Being able to can mean so much to an older person, from keeping up with hobbies, running errands to the grocery store to maintaining social connections.
Self-driving cars are at the forefront of automotive innovation and can give many people, not just seniors, a new sense of confidence on the road. In a perfect world where every car is self-driving, there would be far fewer road accidents as human error is taking out of the equation.
360 Cameras for Parking
Parking can be an issue for anyone, not just senior drivers. But if you have lower mobility, and can’t easily turn in your seat, then a 360-degree camera that gives an aerial view around the vehicle when you park, can be extremely helpful. This camera is currently on the Acura RLX Advance and offers multiple views when parking. As well as the development of 360-degreee cameras, The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing that all new cars should have rearview cameras by May 2018.
Adaptive Headlights & Automatic High Beams
Driving at night can be dangerous, but new adaptive headlights give drivers better visibility. They work by swiveling as the wheels turn, and illuminate more of the road, instead of being fixed in one position. If headlights are fixed as you take a turn, then they will not illuminate the stretch of road you are driving into until it’s potentially too late. A swivel means the road will be lit up earlier, leading to better safety.
Automatic high beam headlights are also being introduced. This is simple technology allows for better visibility at night, like the adaptive headlights. Instead of manually switching to high beams, the car will automatically make the change, so the driver doesn’t have to react to other road users who may lose visibility if they are slow to change the headlights back to low.
Continuing to strive for better visibility at night, new cameras with night-vision are becoming more common, though typically only on higher-end cars. These cameras send images to a screen on the dashboard, where the speedometer and other gauges are. On the screen, the camera will display anything that is hotter than the surroundings, which could be a pedestrian or an animal, in white. This technology isn’t on all the time, though, so it shouldn’t be distracting to drivers.
Automatic Crash Notifications
These notifications are very useful for anyone who becomes lost. They can also help if a person becomes disorientated or has an emergency on the road. Crash notifications work by a simple press of a button, which links the driver to somebody who can help. Notifications can send directions to a vehicle, as well as alert family members.
Blind Spot Warnings
This technology helps warn drivers of anything that may be entering the blind spot. This could be a car in an adjacent lane, for example. The technology is available as an option or as standard on many cars since 2015 and can help to improve car safety for not just the driver, but all road users. They work by automatically applying the brakes to one side of the car if it thinks there is about to be a collision, and then works to correct your car to avoid hitting anything. These kinds of blind spot monitoring systems, usually come paired with another safety measure, which uses sensors on the read of the car to warn the driver of any oncoming vehicles. This is useful for things like reversing when there is little visibility.
Emergency Autonomous Braking
A car using emergency autonomous braking can be stopped, or its speed decreased, to help reduce any damage that was about to occur if it detected there was going to be an accident. This particular technology would be very useful for people who have slower reactions times. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that ten car manufacturers have already committed to adding the technology to each new passenger vehicle in the United States, in the hope that the emergency autonomous brakes will help prevent more serious collisions.
Attention Alert Systems
With some people having to commute for hours to get to work, and not taking appropriate rest breaks of fifteen minutes every three hours, it’s likely that they will become drowsy on the roads. When their attention starts to drift, or they become sleepy, a car fitted with an attention alert system will detect this. It will then prompt the driver to take a rest. This type of technology could help any driver, as we are all susceptible to fatigue.