How Seniors Can Extend Their Driving Time

by Community Manager on ‎12-09-2015 02:50 PM - last edited on ‎12-16-2015 02:27 PM by Lithium Technologies (5,192 Views)

Advancements in car technologies can help seniors stay on the road longer.

 

Driving can deliver some of life’s greatest pleasures. Your car can take you to visit your children; on breathtaking, scenic vacations—or just to lunch with good friends.

 

Seniors who stop driving experience significantly greater depressive symptoms, according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This meta-analysis also showed that seniors became less social, experienced accelerated cognitive decline over a 10-year period and were five times as likely to enter long-term care facilities after giving up their keys, compared to active drivers.

 

Fortunately, some newer vehicle safety technologies may help seniors drive safer, longer. Another 2015 Foundation study examined 16 technologies and found that some helped seniors avoid crashes and improved the ease and comfort of driving.

 

Here are the features the study found most helpful for seniors:

Forward Collision Warning
What it is:
Sensors determine how close objects are to the front of a vehicle. When the system senses that the car may collide with something, it warns the driver and, sometimes, takes over partial control of the vehicle.

How it helps: Forward collision warnings were shown to help seniors increase their reaction time and may reduce potential crashes up to 20 percent.

 

Park Assist System
What it is:
Video cameras and sensors help drivers to park. Some systems can even take over the steering and do the parking for them.

How it helps: Older drivers reported that these systems reduced stress, and in another AAA study, those tested using a park-assist system had 81 percent fewer curb strikes than those parking without assistance. Benefits also include reduced twisting of the upper body.

 

Navigation Assistance
What it is:
More advanced than a typical GPS system, a navigation assistance system gathers real-time traffic information and adjusts its directions to avoid traffic congestion.

How it helps: The study showed that navigation assistance increased seniors’ confidence and helped them relax while driving. Plus, drivers reported that they traveled on roads or at times that they normally would avoid without the system.

Read more on the technologies studied.

 

A version of this story appears in the January/February 2016 issue of AAA Living magazine.

 

Image credit/source:iStock

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