Yes, If You’re Over 60, You Can Still Drive with the Confidence of a 30-Year-Old
Facts are facts. Our alertness may no longer be what it was, and you can't be sure what will happen when you're on the road. So how can we reduce the risk while continuing to rely on our cars just like we did when we were young?
By the time we’ve become senior citizens, the odds are that we’ve accumulated thousands of hours of driving experience. Some of us have never even been involved in an accident behind the wheel. We may be cautious, defensive drivers. But we still know that it’s not what it used to be. At the age of 60, give or take a few years in either direction, the quality of our hearing decreases, the sharpness of our vision decreases and, as a result, we will respond more slowly to sudden, unexpected surprises on the road.
Awareness is what maximizes road safety
I know. I’m 65, and it’s happening to me. I just had a hearing test. The last time I had one was probably 25 years ago and I was fine. Today I’m borderline. If my hearing will deteriorate over the next year, I’ll have to think about a hearing aid. I’ve worn bifocals, and later multifocals, since I was in 8th grade. But a couple of years ago, without warning, I started seeing floaters in my left eye. I now must be checked on a yearly basis to make sure the condition isn’t on the verge of detaching the retina.
Sure, I can still drive. I have to. I drive cross-town to work. I go to the supermarket. I visit the kids. And I really like driving. I also know that at my age I’ve got to be extra careful. My wife realizes that I might not be hearing or seeing everything fast enough and she watches out for me. But she’s now 62 and might not be hearing or seeing everything that I miss either. What’s more, even if she hears and sees everything, there’s a limit how much she could help. At night, or when it’s raining or there’s fog, everyone’s driving acuity is affected, regardless of our age.
Which is why we both breathed a sigh of relief when we saw an ad for Cobra’s integrated vehicle security solutions. Cobra technology significantly reduces the risk of traffic accidents at low speeds, as well as thefts and robberies.
Once you’ve installed Cobra you’re never alone
The Cobra solution is compact, unobtrusive, simple, and effective. It looks like a button on your dashboard, but it’s connected to a professional call center manned 24/7. In 30 seconds or less after you encounter any type of emergency, a Cobra representative will contact you. It could be a health issue, a physical disability that requires a wheelchair or an accident, Cobra will respond.
In addition, the system is equipped with sensors that automatically detect any accident or vehicular abnormality. When it does so, it instantly sends a signal to the call center. The warning is transmitted immediately and independently, without the driver having to initiate it. The control room staff then alert first responders in real time, provide the exact vehicle’s location. At the same time, they attempt to contact and speak with the driver. This service has often turned out to make the difference between life and death.
And that’s not all, the button on the dashboard can also be used to provide:
- A tow truck or mobile rescue services when the vehicle
experiences a technical malfunction
- Personal assistance in navigating to your destination
- An emergency phone line if your mobile battery is drained
- Professional intervention in the event of an accident and summoning a taxi to the scene
- An app that provides additional benefits such as locating the car in case you forgot where you parked, texting the car and alerting you to mechanical problems, among other advantages
In Europe, this system is called eCall. It became mandatory to install eCall in every vehicle on roads throughout the European Union in January 2018. While it is not yet compulsory in the United States, car owners like us are acquiring it at an ever-increasing pace. Apart from the safety factor, which itself is compelling, the system is suited for every type of vehicle. I was particularly impressed by its affordability, as well as the fact that the service can be cancelled at any time.
Installation, by the way, is entrusted solely to a trained mechanic
certified by Cobra, so you know it’s going to be done right. And no, I didn’t have to spend time driving to a garage I’ve never been to. The system is conveniently installed at the customer’s home.
We owe it to ourselves
We’ve all heard (and many of us have said) that “it won’t happen” to us. But it can. It’s downright dangerous to assume otherwise. Vehicular accidents happen. Cars are broken into. We take a shortcut we think we know and wind up in the middle of nowhere. We lose our keys. The fan belt breaks, the windshield wipers fail, the water pump blows a gasket and the radiator bursts, or we run over something in the dark and wind up with two flat tires.
These scenarios and ones far worse do happen. I’m no longer taking chances. Should you?