Drivers with disabilities can have enlarged mirrors on their vehicles to detect blind spots and even radar-enabled blind spot detection devices to enhance their driving safety, but on Dec. 3, 2010 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a new safety regulation that would effectively make rear-view cameras mandatory equipment in all new cars by late 2014.

The proposed rule is intended to help eliminate blind zones by having “a 180-degree view” around a car. Drivers will be able to see directly behind the vehicle when backing up – great news for those who have difficulty turning their head to see over their shoulder. Hopefully, the rule will be made final early next year.

This will not only enhance safety for drivers with disabilities, but for senior drivers and everyone else.

Many other technology-laden safety devices are already senior friendly and a blessing to anyone with disabilities. Four I especially like are below.

Adaptive cruise control maintains a pre-set speed, but, using radar, automatically adjusts your speed to maintain a proper space between your vehicle and the one ahead. If the car in front slows, your car brakes, then re-accelerates back to speed when space allows.

Electronic stability control (ESC) strategically applies the brakes to help restore traction and balance in extreme maneuvering, cutting down on rollovers. It is already standard on many vehicles, but NHTSA announced that it be mandated on all cars by model year 2012. ESC requires an antilock brake system (ABS), so all cars starting in 2012 will also have ABS brakes.

Lane-departure warning systems that let you know if you’re drifting over the yellow line are available on more and more vehicles.

Night Vision System senses infrared energy radiated by objects that you can’t see with headlights alone. It converts it into a visible image you can see, allowing more time to take action – and miss that pedestrian or animal.

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