Posted on December 5th, 2016

Automotive Safety Features for Savvy Seniors

Do you know that icon on your dashboard that looks like a steaming cup of coffee? Do you know what it’s for? Hint: It’s not to alert you that a Starbucks is in close proximity. It’s a drowsiness detection system called Drowsiness Alert. This technology can actually detect drowsy driving behaviors and will suggest to drivers that they take a break.

Coffee cups, exclamation marks, cars with skid marks, symbols that look like restroom signs… These are a few of the ever-increasing array of symbols we see on our cars’ dashboards. These symbols stand for life-saving technologies such as blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning, to name a few. While we all know that safety technologies save lives, many of us don’t know what the symbols mean; and, moreover, may not fully understand how the technology works.

While technology may be intuitive to some of us, it’s often not intuitive to those who may benefit the most from these technologies: seniors. That’s why we created MyCarDoesWhat – to educate people about life-saving technologies and how to use them. After all, drivers cannot effectively use these life-saving technologies if they do not understand both their functions and limitations.

We’re living in an aging country. The U.S. population aged 65 and over is projected to nearly double from 43.1 million in 2012 to 83.7 million in 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This means with each passing year, there will be more senior drivers on U.S. roads.

In response to the rising number of older drivers, AARP created a list of recommended safety technologies for seniors including: pedestrian detection, which acts as a second set of eyes scanning for objects in the car’s path and sounds an alarm if anything is detected; lane departure warning, which alerts drivers if the car crosses lanes; adaptive headlights, which swivel in the direction the steering wheel is turned; and blind spot warning, which alerts you if a car is in your blind spot.

To hear more, check out this video of our Savvy Senior, Jamila, an 81-year-old urban farmer and yoga instructor from Chicago who describes her experience with loaner cars.

Check out the MyCarDoesWhat Facebook page to see more videos featuring Jamila and the rest of her Savvy Senior Crew.