Grandma and grandpa may tell you that they are still able to drive safely, but you may have other suspicions. After all, a AAA survey found that 85 percent of drivers think they are more careful on the road than others, but with so many crashes that occur each year, that’s definitely not the case!
Taking the keys away from your loved one isn’t necessarily the answer. Especially when cars today make it safer for grandma and grandma to drive well into their golden years!
Blind Spot Detection
Seniors aren’t always as alert as they should be. Some of that comes with age, but surprisingly, some of that comes with experience. When you have been driving for decades, it’s easy to get a little too comfortable behind the wheel. It isn’t uncommon for experienced drivers to stop engaging in safety habits, like checking rearview mirrors and blind spots.
Whether grandma or grandpa does or not doesn’t matter as much if they are driving a newer vehicle. Cars today come with blind spot monitoring so you can see what’s happening in your blind spots, even if you can’t see cars next to you with your own eyes. Some warnings provide drivers with a visual or audio alert, while others are tied into automatic emergency steering to keep your loved one from crashing into someone they can’t see.
Driver Attention Monitors
Driver attention monitors can be helpful for younger drivers because they monitor the driver’s behavior using sensors that can detect distracted driving. They can also detect drowsy driving or erratic driving, which can make this system helpful for seniors as well. An audible or visual alert encourages the driver to take a break or pay attention, which can encourage grandma and grandpa to be on their best driving behavior.
There are other types of sensors that can bring important information to the attention of the driver as well. They include:
- Lane departure warnings
- Pedestrian detection
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Traffic sign recognition
Automatic Emergency Braking
A car accident can be devastating to a senior who wants to stay independent. Not only can it result in costly car repairs that can be difficult to pay for on a fixed income, it can result in injuries that not only keep your loved one from getting back behind the wheel, but it can mean the end of their independence as they know it.
Emergency braking can help with your peace of mind, and it can keep grandma and grandma from getting into a car accident. Forward-facing and rear-facing cameras, as well as radar system can warn the car of an imminent collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian. Instead of alerting the driver and relying on their reaction time to make the stop, the vehicle engages the brakes, making the stop automatically.
Adaptive Cruise Control
If you have a loved one who likes to go on road trips, or they live outside of town and regularly drive on the interstate or the highway, you’ll feel better knowing they have adaptive cruise control.
This feature enables you to engage your cruise control like you traditionally would, but it also monitors traffic in front of the vehicle. If the car ahead is going slower, it will slow down in order to maintain a safe distance between the two vehicles. Some versions of this technology will even stop the vehicle and start back up in stop and go traffic, so you don’t have to worry so much about whether or not your loved one is paying attention to the flow of traffic like they should be.
Although not all cars have night vision, they are available with some models, and chances are, it will become more common in other vehicles in the future.
This feature is especially good for older drivers because as vision declines, seeing in the dark can be extremely difficult. Night vision uses thermographic cameras to watch for things like pedestrians, animals, and other vehicles that can be difficult to see in the dark, displaying an image of what’s ahead with a heat signature on items in or near the road to avoid.
There comes a time when grandma and grandpa will have to hand over the keys to their car, but they may not have to hand them over as soon as you think. Make sure your loved one is driving a newer car with safety technology and they may be able to drive on the road safely for much longer.