We have been focused lately on auto accidents in the city involving young drivers behind the wheel of a car. So it’s time to examine the impact of car safety on the parents, and grandparents of these Gen Zers. When baby boomers and their elders are considering the purchase of a new car – and by the way the benefits of the following safety systems aren’t limited only to the loose-fitting jean set – an older driver might want to consider getting around town and taking trips in cars and SUVs equipped with some of the following accident preventing, possibly life saving state-of-the-art high tech auto safety features.
For years now manufacturers have been hard at work building cars with advanced technologies that can help people, particularly those who’ve lost a ½ step or so in response time, avoid or mitigate a crash in all sorts of situations, such as closing in on another car too quickly, changing lanes in rear view and side view mirror blind spots, or simply backing out of a packed parking lot onto a busy street or highway.
Such key active safety systems include (in no particular order):
- Automatic emergency braking (AEB): Brakes are automatically applied to prevent a collision or reduce collision speed.
- Forward-collision warning (FCW): Visual and/or audible warning intended to alert the driver and prevent a collision.
- Blind-spot warning (BSW): Visual and/or audible notification of vehicle in blind spot. The system may provide an additional warning if you use your turn signal when there is a car next to you in another lane.
- Rear cross-traffic warning: Visual, audible, or haptic notification of object or vehicle out of rear camera range, but could be moving into it.
- Rear automatic emergency braking (Rear AEB): Brakes are automatically applied to prevent backing into something behind the vehicle. This could be triggered by the rear cross-traffic system, or other sensors on the vehicle.
- Lane-departure warning (LDW): Visual, audible, or haptic warning to alert the driver when they are crossing lane markings.
- Lane-keeping assist (LKA): Automatic corrective steering input or braking provided by the vehicle when crossing lane markings.
- Lane-centering assist: Continuous active steering to stay in between lanes (active steer, autosteer, etc.)
- Adaptive cruise control: Adaptive cruise uses lasers, radar, cameras, or a combination of these systems to keep a constant distance between you and the car ahead, automatically maintaining a safe following distance. If highway traffic slows, some systems will bring the car to a complete stop and automatically come back to speed when traffic gets going again, allowing the driver to do little more than pay attention and steer.
I (in my 60s) have a friend for who began his love affair with the iconic minivan back in the 1960s. He had kids with near round-the-clock needs to be driven somewhere. The minivan he bought could almost carry his daughter’s entire 6th grade class. He loved sitting up high to see beyond the cars in front of him.
Four minivans later, and a grown-up brood who can drive themselves where they need to go, he’s finally downsized his beloved vehicle of choice at the urgings of a son and daughter-in-law, who have valid concerns about their father’s aging van with boom-box audio system and stars on the ceiling. Their dad, my friend to this day, wears ever-thicker bifocals now and forgets more people’s names than he used to.
But it took a near collision, with Led Zeppelin blaring in his custom-made Bose auto sound system for my friend to reassess his fondness for his caravan- carrying passion. So with a drawn look on his face and tears welling up in his eyes, he did the right thing and marched over to a Suburu dealer near him and traded his faithful 20-something year old object of his affection and purchased an all-wheel drive mini wagon loaded to the teeth with the latest safety features. Family and friends breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing the news.
“I immediately saw one benefit,” he told me with the first smile I’d seen on his face in days. “The car beeped me and displayed a visual image every time I got too close to either side of my lane when I wasn’t signaling a turn.”
He enumerated: “Backing out of a parking lot, the dashboard backup camera assured me I wasn’t about to hit another car or pedestrian, though I also used my eyes and mirrors as added insurance.”
“Given the tsunami of baby boomers and their predecessors still driving,” Jay Dankner, managing partner of the top New York auto accident injury law firm said, “the auto industry anticipated a need for vehicles with features that can enable older people to remain independent and easily connected to distant friends, family and favored places.
“After years of advising others on how to get older drivers to relinquish the car keys,” Dankner added, “which often resulted in lost independence, isolation and depression (as well as family disputes), I admit all the auto industry has more work to do for sure. But let’s give credit where credit is due. Car and truck safety has come a long way since the the1960s.
When consulting with older clients who have been injured in an auto accidents we also try and help the elder drivers select vehicles that can accommodate their inexorable physical shortcomings, disabilities and certain sensory or cognitive losses, and pick vehicles that support people and enable them to drive safely as long as possible.”
For more information, or if you have been in an auto accident and injured, contact the top New York auto accident injury law firm of Dankner Milstein, P.C. by calling 212-751-8000. Or you can E-mail one of the firm’s lawyers for a free consultation.