At some point, Keith and I are going to have to think about getting a new car. Years ago as drivers, we became a one-car household. And our current car is over 15 years old. Having a reliable vehicle is important so we shouldn’t wait until we have to buy a car.
But you can see where I’m going with this. Today’s automobiles have a lot of technology! Our old car has a GPS system. Which of course we don’t use because it’s easier and more accurate to use our phones and Google Maps. But 15 years ago, GPS technology was fancy and a luxury! Since we tend to keep cars for a while, it’s important that we get the right technology that’s going to help us have a better driving experience. And what I mean by that is drive more safely.
If you’re not aware, AARP has a 90-minute self-guided online workshop about today’s smarter vehicles. It covers technologies like assistive parking systems, blind spot warning systems for drivers, and crash mitigation systems. The purpose of the workshop is to help people understand what these technologies do (and don’t do) so we can make educated decisions about the types of technologies we want to include in our vehicles.
As we age, one of the things that remains important to our wellbeing is having the ability to still get around. I think it’s fair to say that we don’t want to have to rely on people to drive us around for errands, etc. While those activities aren’t the most exciting, they do represent being mobile. And I’m sure we want to be independent as long as we can.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) talks about how older drivers need to be aware of the changes that happen to our driving skills as we age. Falls and motor vehicle crashes are the two leading causes of injury and death in older adults. The good news is that the latest technologies can help. They’re not designed to be a replacement for our driving skills, but they can offer assistance. If you know about them and you know how to use them properly.
While we’re talking about driving, there are other resources out on the Interwebs that can help you with your driving skills as you age.
- AAA has a Senior Driving site which includes each state’s licensing laws, a driving health check-up, and how to have a conversation with an older adult about their driving.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers something similar to AAA with videos and resources to support older drivers including how certain medical conditions can have an impact on driving abilities.
Having a conversation about driving is very difficult. Many of us have been driving for decades. Maybe we haven’t had a traffic ticket in years. That doesn’t mean we can let our guard down about our driving skills – or those of other drivers on the road. And when it comes time to replace our current vehicles, we need to understand the latest automobile technologies so we buy features that make sense for our situation.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Havana, Cuba