Refresh your driving skills in 2020 with the new AARP Smart DriverTEK course


By Mike Festa, State Director, AARP Massachusetts

Mike Festa

Talking about cars takes on a whole new vocabulary these days, thanks to a range of new vehicle technology features intended to keep us safe as we travel. We hear about features like Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, and Adaptive Cruise Control, but we may not know exactly what they do.

According to a survey conducted by Consumer Reports, 57 percent of drivers report that at least one advanced driver-assist feature in their car has kept them from getting into a crash. That’s why it is beneficial to learn about these technologies. They can help keep you and your family safe on your next trip – no matter the length.

Smart DriverTEK is a 90-minute AARP workshop offering an interactive way to stay up to date with the latest safety technology in your current or future car. Learn all about what new technologies are available, how they work, and how they can increase your confidence behind the wheel.

The workshops cover the following:

Forward collision warning
In the split second you take your eyes off the road – to check on your backseat passengers, change the radio station, or grab your water bottle – anything can happen. With Forward Collision Warning systems, the car can alert you that a crash may be imminent if it detects a hazard ahead, allowing you to brake or steer to safety. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, this feature alone has reduced rear-end collisions by 27 percent.

Lane departure warning
New sensors and cameras keep an eye on your lane as you drive. If you drift out of your lane without using your blinker, your car will alert you – or may even apply subtle steering or braking adjustments – to keep you safe.

Automatic emergency braking
Let’s say the car in front of you brakes suddenly or an animal jumps in front of your path unexpectedly. With automatic emergency braking, your car will warn you of an impending crash. If you don’t respond by braking or steering to safety, in some cases the feature may automatically slow down or stop the car to avoid or minimize a crash.

Adaptive cruise control
Cruise control has long been a commonly used feature during road trips. The latest update on this feature is adaptive cruise control. When you set your speed, you can also set the desired distance between you and the car ahead. Your car can then adjust its speed according to how fast or slow the cars are going in front of you.

Whether it’s aggressive drivers, unexpected wildlife crossing the road, or a foreign object hindering your path, you never know what you might encounter on a trip of any distance. These advanced features may help keep you safe on the road. While technology is never a substitute for attentive and focused driving, it can give us a needed assist sometimes.
To learn more about advanced vehicle technologies, sign up for a FREE AARP Smart DriverTEK workshop, developed jointly with The Hartford, available online nationwide or in-person in select markets, including Boston. Visit for more information.