In terms of mobility and safety, the self-driving cars that the not-so-distant future (and every sci-fi movie ever) promises could be incredibly helpful for seniors.
While we do not yet have those self-driving vehicles, there are a lot of “futuristic” technological advances in current vehicles that seniors can benefit from greatly. The older we get, the more we need to understand and adjust for things like slower reflexes and weaker vision. These features can help older adults with declining abilities drive safer and help them stay independently mobile for longer.
Whether you are a senior shopping for a vehicle for yourself, or are helping a senior shop for a vehicle, here are a few features to look for.
Parking Aids and Self-Parking Vehicles
Rear backup cameras are becoming very common in new vehicles, and they are definitely an important safety feature. Some vehicles also offer proximity alarms that can let the driver know when they are getting too close to another vehicle.
Some vehicles are even equipped with a self-parking system that is capable of steering the vehicle into parallel parking
Seniors that have issues like arthritis or diminishing fine motor skills can benefit greatly from push-button starts in vehicles. They no longer have to worry about fitting a key into the ignition, and can instead simply keep the key fob in a purse or pocket.
Adaptive headlights pivot according to the car’s steering angle to increase visibility around curves and over hills while driving at night or in low-light situations.
Heated Seats and Steering Wheels
While heated seats have been around for quite a while, heated steering wheels are a relatively new feature on the market. Both are features that drivers of all ages can enjoy, but for older adults, the heat can help with lower back pain, stiffness, or arthritis. The extra heat can also help those that tend to catch a chill easily.
Cameras and Sensors
New vehicles can come equipped with cameras or sensors that help alert you of other vehicles that may be in a blind spot. They can also have cameras or sensors that are able to keep an eye on lane markers and will alert the driver if the vehicle drifts across the line.
While these are definitely not all of the safety features available on the market right now, they are some of the more common features to keep an eye out for that could help keep older adults safer on the road.