AS BABY BOOMERS AGE, TECHNOLOGY KEEPS THEM SAFE BEHIND THE WHEEL




Reverse monitors and blind spot warning system are two technologies available to enhance safety and comfort for mature drivers

Reverse monitors and blind spot warning system are two technologies available to enhance safety and comfort for mature drivers

Smart headlights, emergency response systems and reverse monitoring features rank highest in car technologies that benefit mature drivers, according to The Hartford and MIT AgeLab’s Top Technologies for Mature Drivers Research.

“Since drivers over the age of 50 are more likely than any other age group to purchase the types of vehicles that contain modern technologies, we set out to identify the top 10 features that mature drivers should consider,” said Jodi Olshevski, gerontologist at The Hartford.

“While older drivers as a group are relatively safe, these technologies can help to enhance their abilities and promote safe driving for a lifetime.”

Building upon more than a decade of research on older driver safety, The Hartford and MIT AgeLab worked with a panel of leading experts in driving, aging and technology to conduct an in-depth study that involved the review of 25 new technologies and identification of the top 10 that can benefit mature drivers. The features that rank the highest include: 1. Smart headlights: adjust the range and intensity of light based on the distance of traffic and to reduce glare and improve night vision 2. Emergency response systems: offer quick assistance to drivers in the case of a medical emergency or collision, often allowing emergency personnel to get to the scene more quickly 3. Reverse monitoring systems: warn of objects to the rear of the vehicle to help drivers judge distances and back up safely, and helps drivers with reduced flexibility 4. Blind spot warning systems: warn drivers of objects in blind spots, especially while changing lanes and parking, and helps those with limited range of motion 5. Lane departure warning: monitors the vehicle’s position and warns the driver if the vehicle deviates outside the lane, helping drivers stay in their lane 6. Vehicle stability control: helps to automatically bring the vehicle back in the intended line of travel, particularly in situations where the driver underestimates the angle of a curve or experiences weather effects, and reduces the likelihood of a crash 7. Assistive parking systems: enable vehicles to park on their own or indicates distance to objects, reducing driver stress, making parking easier, and increasing the places that a driver can park 8. Voice-activated systems: allow drivers to access features by voice command so they can keep focused on the road 9. Crash mitigation systems: detect when the vehicle may be in danger of a collision and can help to minimize injuries to passengers 10. Drowsy driver alerts: monitor the degree to which a driver may be inattentive while on the road and helps alert drivers to the driving task.

“Technological advancements in the automotive industry are happening at a rapid rate,” said Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD, Director, MIT AgeLab.

“As more and more of these features are incorporated into vehicles, we believe that it’s important for drivers to be knowledgeable of and use those technologies that can enhance safe driving capacity, comfort, and confidence.”

With the aging of the Baby Boomers, all of this is not inconsequential as the Boomers are predicted to want to drive into their age 80s and 90s, all to support their lifelong go-go lifestyles. But the longer the Boomers drive – and the longer they take prescription drugs – the more complicated the consequences become for driving safely over time.


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