As the number of elderly drivers on the road increases with each passing year figuring out a way for them to continue driving safely is a real concern. As drivers age they stop being as capable of operating a vehicle safely as they once were. This is because reflexes slow with age and many times so does vision. For elderly drivers who want to maintain their independence there aren’t many options but to continue driving even when they stop being capable of doing so safely. In the next decade self-driving cars could solve this problem entirely.

Self-Driving Cars Appear Safer than Manually Operated Vehicles

Between the independent tests being performed by Google and Toyota and the automated features that are appearing in some vehicles there is already plenty of proof that automatic cars are safer. For the last few years automatic braking systems have been in place in many of the newer vehicles. These systems rely on cameras and sensors to determine when the vehicle needs to be slowed down to avoid a collision. As soon as a car needs to be slowed down the brakes are automatically engaged and the risk of a collision is reduced dramatically.

Studies performed by the AEB show that automatic braking systems can potentially reduce accidents by up to 27 percent. Now imagine instead of simple automatic breaking a car that relies on sensors on every side that can detect problems and respond to them nearly instantaneously. That’s what can be expected from a self-driving car and there shouldn’t be any doubt that it will make driving safer for even an average driver. Now consider how poorly many elderly drivers operate their vehicles and the significance of these cars is even more notable.

The Release of Self Driving Cars

Even though self-driving cars look like a good option for elderly drivers, they still seem like something out of science fiction that isn’t going to occur for another 50 years or more. According to GM and Nissan that simply isn’t the case. Both automakers plan on having a self-driving car released by the end of the decade. Even more astounding is that both Toyota and Google already have working automated vehicles that have been tested in real driving conditions.

Google’s self-driving car has already covered thousands of miles safely, and that is proof enough that automated vehicles are a possibility and something that everyone should expect in the years to come.

It’s likely that within the next ten years these vehicles will be rolling around our roads. It will probably take longer than that for their use to become widespread and there may be legalization issues before they are allowed on the roads, but there is no doubt that they are coming. For the aging population of drivers these vehicles may be the only thing that keeps them on the roads for a bit longer. Your grandmother or grandfather may be able to enjoy independence for longer thanks to one of these vehicles, and the roads will certainly be a safer place as well.