En español | When shopping for a new vehicle, there’s a lot more to consider than four-wheel drive and heated seats. Many “new” tech offerings come standard in today’s vehicles, but without an understanding of how these new technologies work, they can become more distracting than helpful.
To help drivers learn the value of ever-evolving safety features, The Hartford has committed to expand its longstanding partnership with AARP Driver Safety to jointly develop Smart DriverTEK℠, an exclusive and innovative vehicle technology educational program. Together, The Hartford and AARP Driver Safety aim to help drivers:
- Understand current and evolving vehicle safety technologies and how to use them
- Recognize how technologies might enhance their driving safety and extend safe driving years
- Choose the technologies that best suit their needs
The program development follows recent studies from The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab of drivers age 50 and older and their preferences around vehicle safety technologies. Along with a previous study that revealed the top vehicle technologies for mature drivers, the most recent survey revealed that 76 percent of drivers aged 50 and older who plan to buy a new car in the next two years will actively seek out high-tech safety features.
In comparison, only 32 percent of drivers age 50+ who bought a car in the last year actively sought out these vehicle technologies.
Whether you recently purchased a new car that has some of these technologies or you’re considering upgrading your vehicle, refer to this list of some of the top vehicle technologies:
Forward collision warning: Also known as Crash Mitigation Systems, sensors detect when the vehicle may be in danger of a collision with a vehicle or object ahead of you. You will receive a warning if you are approaching another vehicle too quickly. Some vehicles are equipped with active braking systems that are designed to stop your vehicle before a crash.
Emergency response systems: While many drivers expect to use their cell phones to contact emergency personnel, it might not be the best option in every situation. Also called Automatic Crash Notification systems, many vehicles are now equipped with emergency response systems that offer quick assistance to drivers in the case of a medical emergency or collision, often allowing emergency personnel to get to the scene more quickly. Some systems even turn on interior lights, unlock doors and shut off fuel when airbags deploy.
Reverse monitoring systems: These systems – often composed of rearview cameras and sound alerts – help drivers judge distances and back up safely, and helps drivers with reduced flexibility. By 2018, reverse monitoring systems will be standard on all cars.
Blind spot warning systems: Blind spots create challenges for all drivers, especially when trying to change lanes on major highways or park in a crowded lot. These systems will alert you to objects in your blind spots when changing lanes or parking. However, you should also take steps to limit your vehicle’s blind spots. Make sure your rearview mirror is properly adjusted so that you can see your entire rear window. You will know your left and right mirrors are properly adjusted when you can barely see the left and right back of your vehicle as you look through the mirrors respectively.
Drowsy driving alerts: Did you know drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol? The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that drowsy driving is responsible for over 100,000 crashes each year. Aimed to help prevent drivers from possibly falling asleep at the wheel, drowsy driving alert systems monitor drivers’ inattentiveness and helps alert drivers to the driving task.
For the full list of top technologies and to watch demonstrations of how they work, visit AARP’s Driving Resource Center.
We must remember the driver is still the most critical part of the driving experience. While new systems are intended to help reduce human error and make the driving experience easier and more enjoyable, it’s critical that, as drivers, we refresh our knowledge and skills. An AARP Smart Driver™ course can help you stay current with changes to technology and the driving experience. To find a course in your community, visit www.aarp.org/drive.
Kyle Rakow is Vice President and National Director of AARP Driver Safety at AARP. He directs the largest driver improvement course in America designed for drivers age 50 and older. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.