If you’ve shopped for a new car recently, or read any of the automotive journals, you know that technological advances in vehicle design are exploding. In the past the focus of new automotive technology seemed to be purely on higher gas mileage and lower emissions, but today’s new cars have become rolling showcases of digital miracles.
There’s much more to all this “gee-whiz” technology than showroom glitz and marketing one-upsmanship. As a recent article on the Kiplinger website pointed out, there’s a powerful linkage between new cars and older drivers. As Kiplinger puts it, “Many high-tech features aren’t just nifty, they can also help keep aging drivers safe and perhaps on the road longer.”
Here’s the link to the article, titled High Tech Helps Aging Drivers. Even though self-driving cars are years away, and the flying cars of the old Jetsons television show never made it to the showroom or your garage, Kiplinger makes a strong case that new tech can help older drivers stay behind the wheel, enjoying more years of safer motoring.
From the time we turned 16, most of us have associated driving with freedom and mobility, especially in the wide open spaces of the USA. “See the USA in your Chevrolet” is a jingle most baby boomers can recall in an instant even though it hasn’t been used on television for five decades. One of the hardest things for many seniors to cope with is the loss of their ability to drive. According to Kiplinger, “Getting older affects driving. Limited mobility makes it harder to turn your head to see what’s behind your car. Vision problems can make it challenging to drive at night.” That’s the bad news. But, says Kiplinger, that limitation is beginning to be lifted. “Whatever your driving challenges, odds are there is a system that can help.”
The Kiplinger article lists several technological advances that have become increasingly common on new cars, advances which have the potential to dramatically improve the driving experience for seniors. Because many older drivers have a hard time looking behind them, Kiplinger reports, “Tops on the list of high-tech features to consider when buying a new car are blind spot and lane departure warning systems.” Blind spot warning systems let you know with a warning light and beeping sound that another vehicle is in one of your car’s blind spots. The lane departure warning system warns you if you’ve veered out of your lane. Some of these “lane discipline” systems even help steer your car back on track.
Some new cars can be ordered with a forward collision warning system that senses if you’re approaching another car or object too rapidly. Besides giving you an audible warning, the best systems activate the brakes for you. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says these systems can reduce rear-end crashes by up to 39%. Other systems aid you with parking, or warn you when you’re backing up (in a parking lot, for instance) and traffic is coming toward you from the side. Back-up cameras, formerly a feature only on high-end vehicles, will be required on all new vehicles by May 2018.
Kiplinger adds that these and other high-tech safety features, until recently for the luxury market only, are now being offered on a wider range of vehicles than ever before from both domestic and foreign manufacturers. As a helpful tool, the Kiplinger article mentions a feature on the Senior Driving website of the AAA (www.seniordriving.aaa.com) that lets older drivers pick out the vehicles that meet their particular needs and physical limitations. It’s called Find the Right Vehicle for You and we’ve linked you to it here.
As we said, driving is an important way for you as a senior to preserve your freedom. But in our experience the most important tool to help you enjoy retirement freedom is planning. Without a solid plan in place, your assets are at risk. You may very likely face the prospect of becoming a burden to your loves ones. You may even find yourself being forced into institutional care against your wishes. It doesn’t have to be this way! We can show you how to prepare a comprehensive plan called a LifePlan that will help you prepare for all the important dimensions of your retirement future: your financial security, your legal protection, your health insurance, your housing choices, and communication with your loved ones.
Find out more about creating a LifePlan by registering for a free, no-obligation LifePlanning Seminar at a location near you. We invite you to bring your questions and come prepared for a fresh and exciting new way to look at the process of planning for retirement. Click on the Upcoming Events tab for dates and registration, or call us so we can assist you. We’re looking forward to meeting you and helping you begin to plan for retirement you’ve dreamed of.
(originally reported at www.kiplinger.com)