Independent Living

4/15/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Anyone buying a vehicle has many things to consider: reliability, fuel economy, and price typically head the list. But when a senior (or an adult with a senior parent) is shopping for a new car, there will likely be other issues to consider.

The ideal car for an older adult will have the advanced technologies to protect aging drivers and make driving easier for them. High beam assistance and blind-spot detection are just two of the most recent technologies designed to be specifically helpful for seniors.

Here are some of the best car safety features for seniors.

1. Rearview camera

This camera is one safety feature that can be a tremendous help for older adults who have difficulty or pain when turning their neck to look back. A screen gives the driver a view of the area behind the vehicle that might not be visible through the rearview mirror. Back-up cameras can help prevent collisions, and as of May 2018, they are mandatory on all new cars in the U.S.

2. Blindspot detection

Blindspot warning (BSW) systems use sensors, radar, and cameras to warn drivers when there is a vehicle in the car’s blind spot, and it’s unsafe to merge. Typically, tiny lights appear on the door mirrors when other cars approach from behind. Others may give an audible warning. Blindspot warning with automatic emergency steering will brake or steer the vehicle if a turn signal is activated with a passing car in the blind spot.

3. Lane departure warning

If a vehicle is starting to drift, the lane departure warning system will alert the driver. It tracks the white lines on the road and sounds an alert if it detects the car is leaving its lane without signaling. Lane-keeping assist, another one of the best safety features for seniors, automatically steers the vehicle back into its own lane when the driver crosses a lane marker without signaling.

4. Automatic emergency braking (AEB)

The automatic emergency braking system helps drivers react more quickly to emergencies. AEB signals when a crash is imminent and slows or stops the vehicle if the driver can’t respond in time. It will be a standard feature on almost all new cars by 2022. While AEB isn’t designed to replace staying awake at the wheel, it can help older adults improve their emergency response times.

5. Rear cross-traffic alert

A rear cross-traffic alert notifies the driver if vehicles are crossing behind them as they back up. It is quite helpful for backing up in a busy parking lot or from a hidden driveway. A rear cross-traffic alert becomes active after the vehicle is shifted into reverse. Drivers receive a visual or auditory warning if a car enters the rear cross-traffic alert detection areas. The visual warning could appear on the dashboard, rearview mirror, or side mirror. For instance, if a vehicle approaches from the right, the light will appear on the right side of the dashboard or rearview mirror or in the right-side mirror.

6. Adaptive cruise control (ACC)

Using special sensors, ACC helps drivers maintain a safe distance between their car and the vehicle in front of them. The system can automatically brake or accelerate to allow a safe distance from other drivers, including applying the brakes to avoid an accident. Adaptive cruise control is especially valuable for long-distance highway driving.

7. Driver attention warning 

Driver attention detection is among one of the best car safety features for seniors. It uses several types of information to monitor driving and detect drowsiness, including steering wheel movements and length of time driving. It then warns the driver to take a break using an alert on the dashboard and a sound. Advanced versions of the technology detect a driver’s drowsiness by employing a camera near the steering wheel to monitor the driver’s eyes and head movements.

Remember that the features listed above can be helpful, but they cannot keep you safe if you rely on them without paying attention to the road. It’s still essential to be alert and aware of everything that is going on around you.

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Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff