Resources for Family Caregivers of Older Adults
Connected Vehicles Could Let Seniors Drive Safely for More Years

Connected Vehicles Could Let Seniors Drive Safely for More Years

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Technology continues to touch all our lives in many most of us did not imagine only a few years ago. Now it is on its way to improve our experience with a variety of our personal transportation methods too.

No, we’re not talking about more technology that will distract us while driving. Just the opposite, this tech is intended to make us safer on the road.

Wireless technology using dedicated short range communication, similar to WiFi, in our vehicles is coming that will connect our cars, trucks, buses and even trains to make it possible to communicate safety and mobility information in order to prevent injuries, ease traffic problems and even improve our environment.

It seems like a tall order, doesn’t it?

Auto makers and the US Department of Transportation are working together now to make this a reality. They are connecting our car with the world around us. The goal of connected vehicle technology is to prevent accidents, injuries and death instead of focusing on just surviving crashes.

Connected Vehicles – What They’ll Do

  • Alert drivers about dangerous roadway conditions such as curves, accidents or other road dangers before they are unavoidable.
  • “Talk” to infrastructure (vehicle to infrastructure – V2I) such as school crossings, traffic signals and toll booths.
  • Prevent accidents from occurring especially at intersections and while changing lanes.
  • Tell drivers when a hazard is coming, such as work zone or even when a traffic light will change.
  • Inform drivers about road conditions, which will allow smarter choices to reduce traffic delays because we’re stuck in traffic.
  • Give alternate route data so drivers can avoid congestion or avoid travel in the area altogether.
  • Provide estimated times when public transportation will arrive using real time information, encouraging more to use those systems.
  • Reduce the amount of gas wasted while sitting in traffic, helping the environment, as well as improve fuel efficiency by using the real time data from traffic patterns.
  • Include crash avoidance sensors in a vehicle to vehicle (V2V) application for the prevention of accidents.
  • Provide “do not pass” alerts, collision warnings, safety messages, data telling drivers they’re following too closely or when cars are braking ahead, and other information about vehicles ahead to improve safety.
  • Give drivers real time data about road conditions, transportation schedules and traffic information.
  • Allow traffic management to evaluate transportation systems performance and thereby manage the systems.

Studies have been underway since 2011, finding that 9 out of 10 drivers would like this technology in the car they are currently driving.

Since 2009 there have been 5.5 million crashes, resulting in 33,808 fatalities and 2.2 million injuries. Advances in technology that give us all these vital pieces of information to make our travel safer can have an positive impact on these growing statistics. The connected vehicle researchers estimate that tens of thousands of crashes can be prevented each year using this new technology.

We will continue to keep our eye on the progression of connected vehicles. Why, you may ask.

This type of information in our senior loved ones’ vehicles could prevent driving accidents and perhaps allow them to maintain their freedom behind the wheel a little longer, even if their reactions aren’t quite what they were in younger days.

That’s good news for all of us!

2 Responses to Connected Vehicles Could Let Seniors Drive Safely for More Years

  1. I think this is very exciting. I saw a news story where the driver intentionally tried to run his car into a wall but the collision avoidance system prevented it. There are actually after-market collision avoidance systems already on the market that can be installed on practically any modern car. While these systems won’t take over control of the car, they will provide warnings. And for around $1,200 installed they have the potential to help prolong the independence of some older adults, today. I’ve actually published an article about one system in particular.

    • Thanks for your comments Mike! We saw aftermarket safety equipment at CES this year. You are definitely right that warnings could save lives and we believe we will see more on the horizon. They will become standard features in the not too distant future!

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