Top Technologies for Mature Drivers: Expert Ranking
In recent years vehicle technology has changed rather quickly. With more of these new features being added into automobiles, all drivers need to learn how these features work to influence safety. It’s important to understand all of these technologies, but in particular which features may be able to enhance driving abilities and allow safe driving over a lifetime.
Building on more than a decade of research on safe driving for a lifetime, The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence® and the MIT AgeLab’s research on Top Technologies for Mature Drivers identified which technologies are beneficial for mature drivers and explored drivers’ comfort and confidence in using these technologies. Our research involved an extensive review of new technologies by leading experts in driving, aging and technology and a survey* of drivers over age 50 about new vehicle technology. The leading experts are practitioners and researchers with expertise in geriatric medicine, kinesiology, human factors, and occupational therapy.
The expert panel identified ten top technologies that are beneficial for promoting capacity, confidence, and convenience for drivers as they age. Smart headlights topped the list, and this technology can help to address an issue that many mature drivers say they have. For example, 24% of the drivers age 50 and older we surveyed indicated seeing at night is a concern for them. Other top concerns of mature drivers included distractions within the vehicle such as music and phone calls (13 percent), changing lanes in traffic (12 percent), and merging onto the highway (12 percent).
Top 10 Technologies: Expert Ranking
The technologies that rank high in our research include:
- Smart headlights: adjust the range and intensity of light based on the distance of traffic to reduce glare and improve night vision
- Emergency response systems: 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
- Reverse monitoring systems: warn of objects to the rear of the vehicle to help drivers judge distances and back up safely, and helps drivers with reduced flexibility
- Blind spot warning systems: warn drivers of objects in blind spots, especially while changing lanes and parking, and helps those with limited range of motion
- Lane departure warning: monitors the vehicle’s position and warns the driver if the vehicle deviates outside the lane, helping drivers stay in their lane
- Vehicle stability control: helps to automatically bring the vehicle back in the intended line of travel, particularly in situations where the driver underestimates the angle of a curve or experiences weather effects, and reduces the likelihood of a crash
- Assistive parking systems: enable vehicles to park on their own or indicates distance to objects, reducing driver stress, making parking easier, and increasing the places that a driver can park
- Voice activated systems: allow drivers to access features by voice command so they can keep focused on the road
- Crash mitigation systems: detect when the vehicle may be in danger of a collision and can help to minimize injuries to passengers
Drowsy driver alerts: monitor the degree to which a driver may be inattentive while on the road and helps alert drivers to the driving task
Two-Step Plan to Learn More About Vehicle Technology
Technology is an important piece of staying safe on the road. To understand and best utilize your vehicle's safety features:
- Match The Hartford’s top technologies list above with your vehicle manual to understand what your vehicle is equipped with and how the features work.
If you are choosing a new car or need assistance with your current vehicle, work with a trusted dealer who can who can explain the benefits and uses of the various technologies available.
Maintain Your Driving Wellness
In addition, there are three additional steps that drivers should consider as part of driving wellness:
- Be a healthy driver: Get regular physicals, consider the side effects of medications, have an annual eye exam, and exercise regularly.
- Keep learning: Take a driver safety course like one offered through AARP Driver Safety
Adjust to changes in driving skills: Be aware of normal age-related changes and making appropriate adjustments to driving (declining night vision, decreased peripheral vision, decrease in strength and reflexes, greater susceptibility to glare)
Para conocer más
Watch crash avoidance technology videos from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
* The research involved a phone survey with a sample of over 900 drivers age 50 and older nationwide.