Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, people live longer now than ever before in human history. That is obviously an excellent thing, but it does bring about new concerns and challenges. And one of the biggest of them all is the question of driving. Should we allow old people to continue to drive well into their ripe age? What should be the cut-off age? What sort of cars are best for the elderly?
Now, some people believe that old folks should spend their final years at a retirement community, playing bingo online with legs 11. These people are insensitive to the fact that someday they, too, will get old and knackered. But, being selfish by nature, they will then insist that they should retain their independence and continue to benefit from all the fruits of civilized society. So that is not really a solution, especially, as mentioned above, people are living pretty long and they are usually physically fit well into their eighties and nineties.
So if we should let octogenarians continue to drive and have their vehicle, the next obvious question is what is the right kind of car for these folks? Well, pondering the question for a few moments, everyone comes up with the same answer: cars that are the safest. And that is true. The elderly definitely need cars that have the maximum safety ratings. But there is more to it than that. Older drivers are sort of like newbie drivers. They often have the same habits and road behaviors, and have the same concerns and complaints when it comes to motoring. Therefore, the best for an old person is the same car you get for a teenager when he or she is first learning how to drive.
That means the car needs to be small, easy to maneuver, with a light steering wheel, comfy suspension, good headlights, and of course, an automatic gearbox. There is just one proviso, which is a major difference between a teenager’s car and an old person’s car. And that is complexity. While you can put a teenager in a spaceship and s/he will figure it out in ten seconds, the car you get for your parents has to be simple and straightforward. For instance, don’t get your folks a new BMW with one of those fancy gear sticks and iDrive system. It’s going to drive them mad!
Unfortunately, cars are getting more and more complex these days, what with the new digital services integrated into them and new ways of interacting with them. Car makers are just not taking into account the old people when designing these cars. Even Honda, for years the go-to choice for any driver above seventy, is now favoring the PlayStation generation over the Atari generation.