5 WAYS TECHNOLOGY IS HELPING SENIORS STAY SAFE ON THE ROAD
By: Ayla Willow
The process of aging can make people more vulnerable to poor vision, arthritis, slower reflexes, and other conditions that can limit their ability to safely navigate the road. Yet denying people their cars can also have a detrimental effect on their health. The Senior Advisor notes that a 2016 study found that seniors without a means of transportation lose their social engagement. This in turn can lead to various health conditions, as well as a reduced quality of life. The good news is that today’s most creative engineers have stepped in to introduce new safety technologies – specifically aimed at keeping our cars and roads senior-friendly. Here on Mature Drive Tune-Up we have covered some of this tech in the past. Here’s another more updated look at these innovative new features.
Cars already come with mirrors and devices to improve on-the-road vision and navigation. Today, there are many innovations that can help seniors, and those with compromised vision, to be more aware of their surroundings. From simple modifications like the oversized rear view mirror, to more expensive features like the rear night vision camera with dashboard monitor, there’s no shortage of technological help that’s available to the visually impaired senior driver.
Conditions like arthritis or chronic injuries can cause serious pain and discomfort that can also limit a person’s ability to operate vehicles. Motor 1 in their 14 features for senior drivers list, explain how cars now have heated steering wheels to help “those suffering with arthritis pain and stiffness in hands and fingers”. Simple non-tech devices can also make the car more user-friendly to a driver suffering from these symptoms. There’s the key turner, a small piece of plastic that attaches to car keys and widens the grip, providing leverage for arthritic hands that find it hard to turn the keys in the ignition or the door.
IoT-Based Road Safety
The IoT or the Internet of Things is the term for how certain devices are able to operate more efficiently by exchanging and executing data with one another through the Internet. IoT-based road safety technology includes continuously improving self-driving vehicle AI, vibrating wristwatches that can tell seniors when it’s safe to cross the road, and tracking devices designed to monitor driver behavior.
One issue that many senior drivers suffer from, but are likely unaware of it, is driving while fatigued. While it is impossible to accompany a senior on every trip, there are apps like Drivr that allow family members to monitor the journeys of each other. For families who are concerned about a senior member’s driving habits this is a good way to keep a detailed account of their trips. Such is the importance of preventing driving while fatigued, that the government have made this technology mandatory for commercial vehicles. Verizon Connect provides an overview of how the mandatory Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) help truck drivers to be safer on the roads. The ELDs help operators police proper work hours to avoid overdriving, which is the main cause of fatigue. The devices also include driver behavior monitoring technology that help drivers better operate their vehicles. IoT technology is at the forefront of road safety, and aids everyone from seniors to professional drivers.
Digital transport services like Uber already exist for any senior with access to an Internet-enabled smartphone. If a senior’s perception or mobility is too compromised for safe driving, there’s a number of alternative transportation options that can minimize their risk of road-related injury.
Developing the Car Safety Industry
The growing need for senior-friendly road safety features have birthed a burgeoning, new mini-industry in automotive tech. For instance, My Car Does What details how speeding is reduced through providing an alert if you’re going too fast. Other innovations include forward collision prevention, braking and anti-rollover systems, parking and braking assist, and even driver state monitoring. This allows consumers to pick car models based on features that can make the senior member of their household safer and more mobile.
Exclusively written for MatureDriverTuneUp.com