Helping The Elderly Drive

Senior man holding up keys to his new car

Getting older has different meaning to different people, some look forward to it and other avoid it all together there is something that we cannot simply wish away, that is that as we age our body functions at a slower pace and therefore it affects all we do. In this article we want to touch upon a very important concept and that is our aging populations.  The baby boomers from WWII are right around the corner to becoming part of this growing demographic.

There are signs that we can look out for in ourselves and in our loved ones. The goal here is to provide some very needed understanding of a possible situation and the best way to prepare for aging.  Like the tick tock of time, time passing is the only inevitable thing we have to look forward. The only thing we can count on, so lets make it as graceful and as safe as possible.

Most states do not require you to stop driving at a specific age as everyone is different and totally unique, thus individual aging must be unique as well. In Texas if you are 101 and can function at average response times can see sufficiently well and are of able mind and body, then by all means drive away.

We will list the signs to look out for to see if you or someone you love might be a danger or to others behind the wheel. When we age what happens is that we lose strength, flexibility and coordination.

If you have any sharp pains in your legs can cause you to slam on the gas or the brakes unwillingly. Your reaction time diminishes, if you have a stick neck or back it could make it hard to look around and be fully aware of what is going on. There is a lot going on when one drives, signs, lights, pedestrians, other cars, motorcycles, bicycles, trains, busses, not to mention where we are going that can be overwhelming.

When we drive we do so consciously obeying all of the traffic laws and norms, however as we age some factors are merely out of our control and therefore we might need to be flexible as to our way of doing things.

If you are part of this demographic or know someone who is, we suggest the following preventative steps to ensure that everything is I’m order and anything that might need to be fixed such as updating a prescription for glasses is done.

Getting enough sleep believe it or not can be a huge factor in how well you drive.  A driver young or old who is tired has slower reaction time if any at all.  All of their energy is going to staying awake, not seeing what is going on around them. This is not much different than driving impaired. Get your eyes and ears checked, make sure that you can get the most out of these important sense.

Also talk to your doctor, let them know if you are feeling less confident when behind the wheel, all of these things will ensure not only your safety but those who are sharing the road with you. In subsequent articles we will detail this issue of aging and driving a little more in depth.

Trendy Car Technologies To Come

Future car

When we see scifi movies and see trends that will occur far into the distant future we become excited with the prospect of someday attaining that cutting edge technology.  If you were born in the last 40 years you will have experienced that yourself with the Hover Board from back to the future and the prospect of flying cars.  We are not quite there yet, but there are some amazing advances which we will be privy to within the next ten years.  Here in Houston, these trends have already started, this is what we see the trends as being.

If you have access to the internet then there is no doubt that you have heard of Google Maps and its famous self driving cars.  The driverless car is not a distant future scenario, it is a right here right now scenario.  But what does a automated car mean for the average Joe?

These cars have sensors and cameras and different radar systems and GPS location capabilities.  Nissan is said to be working on this same concept, a driverless car  – and the thought is that it will be safer than a human driven car because to err is human and there are contingency plans that arise from the human driver scenario. Today there are features like reverse assist or cruise control that make driving a little more automated and more technological. The sophistication of these sensors can even take drastic measures to avoid collision and ensuring that the car is centered when on the road in the correct lane and going in the correct direction.

Like any evolving and constantly changing technology, it takes some convincing to make it mainstream but some very progressive states have already signed up to allow these cars to be tested in their states.  California, Florida and Nevada have all agreed to allow automated cars to share the road with physical flesh and bone drivers, will Texas be next?

So, hesitations? Well, would you be surprised to know that the automated car would reduce traffic congestion and fatal car accidents. They will also allow you to increase your productivity, because you will have more time to get other things done and in a safer manner.  In the near future, you will be able to text or send an email without losing your focus and getting into a fender bender with the car in front of your when you look down to read a message.

It is believed that most of these cars will be Electrical Powered vehicles which will also reduce emissions and the impact they have on our planet. It has only been in the last 5 years that truly amazing electronic vehicles have emerged on the market.  Lexus, Tesla and Mercedez are all leading the pack with sophisticated and performance driven vehicles in the present and even more so into the near future.

EV are expensive, perhaps even more so than their gas powered counterparts but when you break down the cost of fuel for the next 5 year and what the price fluctuations might be then you might end up better off paying a little more up front and getting a car that is clean and efficient.

You might be surprised to know exactly how advance car technology has become over the last few years.  There are sensors placed in windshields that will automatically sense when rain is falling and they speed up or slow down depending on the intensity of the drops.  Crazy huh? A lot of these features come in higher end vehicles as expensive add on features but they are worth sharing.

Imagine having headlamps that turn with the curve of a road, allowing you to see what is coming down the road.  Also display systems are much more advanced, focusing on safe driving and not distracting the driver.  Well, with self driving cars, the driver becomes obsolete and it matters not whether they are focusing or not.

There are many driving conditions that make it very difficult for a human to drive in.  Some examples you say?  Heavy torrential downpours, heavy fog or that time of day usually at sunset when the sun is so blinding that you cannot see at all.

Not every person will ultimately be ok with a machine driving your car for you, making choices that directly affect you, whether you are in the car or in an incoming vehicle.

There will be advances in collective consciousness when these systems are in place.  So, a vehicle to vehicle communication system.  This is done with sensors that will track speed and direction and driving pattens.

There are also cars that are made as fleets that are designed to reduce the hectic driving realities in very urban areas, where traffic issues are common and traffic jams a reality.  These networked cars would work as taxis and public transportation solutions.  This is possible with the popularity of smart phones, there are many networks that already exist in major metropolitan cities like Toronto, and its Uber car service.

Flying cars are also high on the radar. There have been aquatic cars that work on water as much as they work in the water, now we are all just anxiously awaiting the moment when we can take flight and get to where we are going in a much faster manner.