Self-driving cars have moved from science fiction into reality. As they become more common, they promise to change the transportation landscape for retirees.”  Andrew Winnett

By Andrew Winnett

Americans hitting retirement face an increased risk of having accidents due to age-related issues such as poor eyesight, declining motor skills, and loss of cognitive ability. Sooner or later, nearly every one of us reaches the age where it’s better to hang up our keys than to continue driving. As people grow older and eventually get rid of their cars, getting from place to place becomes more of an issue than ever.

Older retirees often struggle to get from point A to point B without assistance. Currently, it’s common for many older people to rely on family members, taxi and rideshare services, buses, or other forms of public transportation.

They may even hire part-time assistants or home care service workers to help them get to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, or social engagements. Unfortunately, such reliance on other people or public services is unpalatable to many retirees struggling to maintain independence and self-sufficiency. For these reasons, deciding how you’ll get around when you no longer have a vehicle should be essential in your retirement planning.

Self-driving cars could be one answer to senior transportation problems.

As a significant part of American life, self-driving cars may still be a few years off, but the trend is gaining steam. Once self-driving vehicles gain wider acceptance, though, you will see some significant changes to the way seniors get from place to place. Self-driving cars probably won’t require a driver’s license, and when the technology is perfected, there is no increased risk for elderly riders. These advantages mean self-driving vehicles will be perfect for senior transportation.

Self-driving cars will also free up senior care providers to stop worrying about picking up their clients or taking them on errands and focus more on providing quality assistance with their healthcare and other needs. Having a reliable, automated way to get elderly loved ones where they need to go will greatly relieve stress on friends and family members.

Self-driving cars, vans, and trucks are usually more affordable to own, lease, or rent, which is a big plus for those on fixed incomes. The software used in these vehicles is consistently evolving, and self-driving cars will consume energy in more efficient, environmentally-friendly ways. Since self-driving car designers also focus on reducing driving errors, a world where most vehicles are self-driving may be a world with far fewer accidents. That’s good news for retirees worried about what will happen when they can no longer drive themselves. Once the fears of not having anyone behind the wheel are addressed, self-driving automobiles will be commonplace.

Bottom line: Most of us will face a time when we can no longer safely drive. Yet, we will still want and need transportation methods that preserve our sense of independence. In the future, many older Americans will rely on computer-driven self-driving vehicles to help them get where they want to go.