OLDER drivers who are in the market for a new vehicle will find it easier to determine its safety with the release of an updated safety advice brochure by the RACV.
Called Make the Right Choice, the brochure was updated following RACV commissioned research which looked at how older drivers perceive emerging vehicle safety technologies, their understanding of those technologies and whether new vehicle safety features would influence the type of vehicle they purchase.
RACV manager of Road User Behaviour, Melinda Spiteri said it is important for older drivers to put safety first when choosing a car.
“Vehicle safety technology is important for all drivers but particularly important for older motorists as they have a higher risk of sustaining serious or life threatening injuries in the event of a crash because of their increased frailty.
“Older drivers are generally considered to be safe, experienced, cautious and more law-abiding.
“However, health and medical conditions more common with ageing can make us more susceptible to injuries.”
Ms Spiteri said the research found that older drivers have limited knowledge or understanding of new vehicle safety technologies.
“The Make the Right Choice brochure is a handy, easy to read guide that provides information on what makes a safe car, why it’s important to buy a safe car and what safety features to consider when buying a vehicle.
“For example, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is a beneficial technology for all drivers, but is particularly beneficial for people whose reaction times are not as quick as they used to be.
“AEB could assist them in those rare emergency situations where they are unable to stop in time.”
Ms Spiteri said Make the Right Choice also dispels some common myths like the mistaken belief that airbags injure people and that you only need a car fitted with the latest safety technology if you are a bad driver.
She said the results of the RACV research also had a take home message for car manufacturers.
“Older drivers say they want to be reassured that the vehicle they are considering buying will keep them and their passengers safe.
“Many consider the standard safety features of a vehicle, like airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC), as an indication of the vehicles overall level of safety.
“If some of the newer technologies like AEB were to become standard in all new cars, this would not only improve perceptions of vehicle safety, but also improve the safety of all road users” she said.
The Make the Right Choice brochure can be downloaded from racv.com.au/olderdrivers