New technologies are responsible for many of the advances, comforts and conveniences of modern life, from the smartphone to wearable items such as wristwatches and eyeglasses. And new technology is even helping us to drive our cars more safely.
In this third installment of a series of research projects on vehicle technology,* The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence® and the MIT AgeLab explored vehicle technology adoption among mature drivers. These technologies are becoming more available in new cars today, so it’s important that all drivers learn how they work and how to use them effectively. This is especially true for mature drivers, as many technologies can enhance the driving experience as we age.
The Vehicle Technology Adoption Among Mature Drivers study found that mature drivers consistently favor technologies that can enhance driving safety, but some think certain advancements make drivers too reliant on technology.
Drivers ages 50 to 69 are most willing to adopt the following technologies from a list of seven* included in the study:
- Blind-spot warning systems
- Reverse back-up cameras
- Smart headlights
- Collision avoidance systems
- Lane departure warning systems
Purchase and Use of Vehicle Technologies
- 96% of mature drivers reported that they would be willing to buy a car with at least one of the seven auto technologies in the study
- Nearly 10% indicated that they would be willing to buy all seven
- The study revealed that mature drivers believe the primary benefit of many vehicle technologies is to improve safety for the driver.
- Participants said that back-up cameras (78%), blind-spot warning systems (77%), collision avoidance systems (68%), lane departure warning systems (64%), and smart headlights (63%) were most connected to safety.
- Some mature drivers worried that other new technologies might make drivers too reliant on the technologies themselves, including parking assistance (42%) and adaptive cruise control (25%).
Technology May Make You Safer
Vehicles today have many more features than they did 10, 20 or 50 years ago. But which ones are really worth considering in order to enhance your safety? A study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that one in five injury crashes could be prevented or reduced if all passenger vehicles were equipped with forward collision warning, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and adaptive headlights.
To Learn More About Vehicle Safety Technology
Use the checklist in our guide, In the Driver’s Seat, to talk with people who are in the know about or have used such vehicle technologies. You could talk with a trusted car dealer about your current car or one you are considering buying or leasing, or talk to a friend or knowledgeable person if you are borrowing or renting a car. This checklist will help you start conversations so that you will be better informed about which technologies are in the car and how they work – before you drive away.
As new features emerge, like adaptive cruise control, be sure to stay current with the latest additions to new cars. Our resource list at the end of this guide contains many organizations that can help you both learn more about today’s technologies and keep you up-to-date about features coming in tomorrow’s car.
Download our guide, In the Driver’s Seat, for more information about vehicle technologies.
* In 2015 The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab conducted a multi-method research project with 302 drivers ages 50-69 to assess their likelihood to adopt current vehicle technologies. In the study, participants viewed a video about seven vehicle technologies (blind-spot warning systems, reverse back-up cameras, smart headlights, collision avoidance systems, lane departure warnings, parking assistance and adaptive cruise control), as well as a video about a self-driving car, and responded to the videos via a perception analyzer tool. Participants also completed a conjoint analysis, a small group discussion and pre/post-test questionnaires.
This information is intended to help individuals who seek information about vehicle technology and safety. It is not intended to be an exhaustive source or to relate to a particular vehicle, driver or driving situation. Readers are advised to consult the appropriate professionals to assist them in analyzing their situation.