The top five technologies for older drivers
The motor industry has seen many key innovations over the years, and it seems that with each passing year there’s a brand new piece of technology brought out to make your driving experience safer, easier and more enjoyable.
Research has shown that 55% of older drivers are planning on leasing or buying another car in the next five years, meaning more drivers will encounter first-hand some of the fantastic technological breakthroughs that are now available in modern cars.
As with most new technology it can all be a little bit daunting at first as you try and figure out what each shiny new button does. To ensure you get the most out of your car, we’re showing you some of the best new technology and how, as older drivers, you can use them. Whilst some of them are useful, there are others that just might save your life.
5. Voice-activated systems
New technologies will enhance your safety, but do they come at a price? It’s probably fair to assume that many people will find themselves overwhelmed with all the gadgetry in front of them and all those new buttons, dials and knobs might distract you from driving. Voice-activated systems help motorists make the most of their car’s features by using their voice – which means their attention isn’t detracted from the road.
4. Intelligent Parking Assists
Intelligent Parking Assists (IPAS) are incredibly useful and take the stress out of parking. You’ll know how frustrating it is when you’re trying to find a place to park your car and the only spots available are too tight for you to manoeuvre into, meaning you drive around in fruitless circles for half an hour. Parking in big cities is becoming increasingly limited and there’s a greater need for perfect parallel parking – this is easier said than done, however, and if you’re under pressure from traffic you can easily find your nerves being shredded and your bumper bruised. Whilst IPAS doesn’t completely take control of the car (yet), and you are still responsible for the speed of the car, it manages the tricky aspect of steering, perfectly parking the car into a tricky space. IPAS will not only ease the stressful act of parking but will help see reductions to your insurance premiums as you experience fewer bumps and scrapes.
3. Blind spot monitoring systems
Blind spot monitoring systems help detect if a car is getting too close to you in a blind spot (an area you can’t see) and when there’s a risk of there being a collision. Active blind spot monitoring uses electronic devices on the on the sides of a car that will either send out electromagnetic waves (think radar) or will take computer-processed images and then analyse them. If a car is coming up on your rear and you’re not aware of it you’re at risk of changing lanes and crashing into it – blind spot monitoring systems will alert you to the danger. Some cars also offer a Lane Departure Warning System which will beep if you drift across white lines on a motorway or other major road
2. Vehicle Stability Control
Whilst IPAS might save you frustration, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) might save your life. It’s a system that helps stabilise your car when it’s going round a curve and if it senses a loss of traction will apply the brakes individually on each wheel and/or reduce engine power. VSC can help prevent crashes and is particularly useful in wet weather when grip becomes an issue. It’s important to note that VSC is there to help you, not to take over the act of driving for you, and you should always practise safe driving in the first place. It also won’t counter the performance of your tyres, so ensure they’re in good condition by having them checked at a local independent Trust My Garage member.
1. Drowsy driver alerts
Becoming tired at the wheel is incredibly dangerous and according to Think! is responsible for 20% of accidents on major roads. There are certain steps you can take to help prevent falling asleep at the wheel such as taking breaks every two hours, stopping if you start to feel tired and taking short naps at a service stop or in a suitable lay-by. However, technology is now helping to prevent fatigue-related accidents. If your car senses that you’re becoming drowsy it will take actions, such as sounding an alarm to wake you up or blowing air on the back of your neck. Drowsy driver alerts are constantly being innovated and enhanced, and new Mercedes Benz cars actually create a driver profile for you, mapping your driving style. Once you start to show unusual traits, such as late steering, it will take into consideration the time of day and if it thinks you’re drowsy will alert you. Saab’s on-board computer system even uses facial-recognition software to analyse your facial muscles and the time it takes for you to blink.
Assistive driving technology can really benefit motorists, just as regular servicing can keep you safe on the road. To find your local independent garage for a service ahead of a drive, visit the Trust My Garage website and insert your postcode into our garage finder.