Too old to drive!

I have nearly been hit by several elderly drivers who are clearing “over the hill” as far as driving. Some just completely run stop lights or stop signs not knowing that anyone is even there. I recently went to the local DMV to renew my license and the rear of a Lincoln was sticking out the front of the building. People were outside all freaked out and outside the building. It turned out that the car was brand new from the dealer 2 miles up the road and they were coming in to get tags. It was an elderly couple and they pressed the brake but it kept moving. So, they pressed it even harder… The problem was this was the gas and not the brake so they literally burned rubber into the front of the building. The skid marks were still warm and you could smell the rubber. I hope these people didn’t get their tags or their license renewed. No one was injured although the car and the door frame of the DMV nearly missed several people.

The same thing happened at a local liquor store. It was an older guy and he hit the gas thinking it was the brake so he pushed it harder. He burned out and plowed right through the front of the store. Unfortunately a liquor distributor was inside stocking and his legs were badly crushed. I happened to stop at this place a few days after it had happened and the had it open with plywood over the front of the building. I told the owner that the fellow must have had way too much to drink. He said it was early in the morning and that the guy had NOTHING to drink as they tested him at the accident scene. He was simply too old too drive. Again, there were prominent skid marks leading right into the front of the store so he must have really burned out.

Anyway, who else has seen similar problems like this? It seems people become unable to drive well and are unaware that they are a hazard to themselves and others who use the road.

I’ve seen problems like this. I was losing my vision, especially at night, and the only thing that kept me safe ws extreme caution and the grace of God. But I had no choice by to drive. I had to work. I’ve now had cataract surgery and can see beautifully. Yes, I was aware of it. I suspect there are many others out there that are too, but have no choice but to drive.

On some cars, it seems they put the brake and gas pedals too close together, and if you aren’t sure, you could hit the wrong one(Toyota’s recent lawsuit?)

The thing is in a lot of areas of the country, there are no alternatives to driving. If you don’t drive, you die. My Dad ended up taking his drivers test again at about 85. He passed.

A lot of people you need to watch out for. A neighbor in his younger years, coming home from a 50 mile commute, couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t get the car in the garage. Kept bumping the car that was already in there. Problem was he was two doors down from his house. His wife went and got him and drove him home. Obviously had tipped a few.

I guess one could make a similar case to prohibit teen driving - much higher accident rates…

I bet the overall accident rate for drivers over, say, 70 is still way lower. It just makes BIG news when something happens.

I had a rental car the other day, and my fat foot ended up hitting the gas at the same time as the brake, freaky for a second. I have had more bad experiences with people on cellphones than elderly drivers. My mom is 86, still an adequate driver, not the best, it get’s hard to tell them to give up the keys, as she had a recent test and passed. My prayer would be if something did happen, she did not hurt anyone, same concern as teenage daughter.

Older people often really resist giving up their car keys. And it makes total sense if you think about it, as with no way to get around, they feel they become dependent on someone else for their most basic needs, such as a trip to the grocery store for food. Who among us here would want to be in that position?

In my opinion, It’s important to make some plans, say when you are around age 65-70, on what you want to do to address this “no longer can drive” problem when/if it occurs to you. The worse of the problem can usually be got around, but it requires some advance planning. Along with a willingness to accept some loss of personal freedom as you age.

On some cars, it seems they put the brake and gas pedals too close together, and if you aren’t sure, you could hit the wrong one(Toyota’s recent lawsuit?)

It’s not too close, it’s properly positioned for heel n toe

There’s a big difference between having the maturity to drive and having the physical and mental capacity to drive. If it’s maturity…in most cases that can be a learned behavior…but there’s very little you can do with diminished physical or mental abilities.

We’ve took my mother-in-laws license away some 10 years ago…and this past year we took my father-in-laws. And I hope I have sense enough to give up driving when I’m no longer capable…instead of having my kids decide for me.

And as a responsible parent I wouldn’t let my middle son get his license until he was 18. Sorry…but he wasn’t ready. My daughter had her’s at 17…and my youngest will get his at 17. Parents need to take some responsibility too.

I wasn’t responsible enough to drive until about 28, and thats no joke, I despise drunk drivers and never had anything to do with that, however I had a need for speed, fast cars, and fast motorcycles.

My old neighbor who passed about 15 years ago was legally blind and would drive his Volare to the store, the only good thing is he only went down the alley about 6 blocks, still theres kids and cross streets, but it was slightly amusing watching him and his totally oblivious wife riding shotgun creeping down the alley. He was driving illegally since he had been unable to renew his license.

If the Sheriff doesn’t have a problem, and Public Safety doesn’t have a problem, and the insurance company doesn’t have a problem, seems to me its a little autocratic for a kid to try and prevent a senior from driving. Just remember that inside the guy that stormed the beaches in France, is the same person behind the wheel. Maybe a little slower but the same guy and we’ll be there too.

They say age only matters if you’re wine or cheese. Here, a white-bearded old gentleman, who played Santa Clause every year, drove till he was 101 years old. He was tested every year. He passed away at age 102, nearing 103.

He knew his limits and stayed out of rush hour traffic and snow storms.

My late mother in law drove till she was 92, when she voluntarily stopped driving and we sold her car. She only drove in the daytime, and was located near a grocery store so she could walk the short distance for basic stuff. She never was a menace in traffic and was never refused insurance.

We had a gentleman in his 80s that was in our carpool for band rehearsals. He was a great trombone player and he drove very well when it was his turn. He had been an over-the-road pharmaceutical salesman and driving was just second nature to him. He played until he was 88 and then became ill and didn’t recover. However, while he was still driving, his vision was good and had very quick reaction time.

As the tidal wave of Boomers move into their 70’s and 80’s over the next 10 years, you are going to see a lot more of this…Spend a week or two in Boca Raton or Cape Cod if you want to get a feel of what it will be like…

Nobody is paying any attention to what will happen to our demographics with a national fertility rate of 1.6 and falling…

From Bing, Quote: “If the Sheriff doesn’t have a problem, and Public Safety doesn’t have a problem, and the insurance company doesn’t have a problem, seems to me its a little autocratic for a kid to try and prevent a senior from driving” Unquote

Nice sentiments but a family member will recognize a driving deficiency much more quickly than others.

A license to drive is much more vital here in the US than in some European countries where surface public transportation is more universal.

The “pushing on the gas petal” thinking it was the brake has happened to me also. I was in my 40’s and luckily I was able to realize the problem and didn’t hit anyone or thing. It was a new to me car and the petal positions for the gas and brake were rather close together compared to other cars I’d driven. I made the adjustment without another incident.

Older driver’s might have slower reaction times, but sometimes it is just an “accident” and taking the driver off the road might not be appropriate. I do feel older driver’s, say 70 and up should get a more comprehensive review of their driving skills, vision, and reaction time at least every 3-5 years when their driver’s license is up for renewal. The question is what are fair tests and criteria so the public is protected without discrimination against older citizens?

Once you take an elderly driver’s license it puts a greater burden on the family. Someone has got to go to the store, bank, post office, and handle the trips to the doctor. Many elderly driver’s live in areas where there is little to no transportation systems to replace their own car. Many elderly don’t live close to other family members either.

I prefer a car with a clutch. I grew up with manual transmissions and it was second nature to depress the clutch pedal to disconnect the engine from the rest of the car. I did have the accelerator stick once in a car and hitting the clutch was my first reaction.

We went through this with both my grandpas. It was quite clear they were a hazard to others on the road but they wouldn’t give it up and somehow passed driving tests when renewing their licenses. Sure, the state said they were safe to drive but that wasn’t the case. My one grandpa would just blow through red lights unaware of what was happening. He kept telling everyone that these stupid idiots just won’t stop honking at him and it was their problem. His driving was truly frightening to anyone who rode with him, yet the state said he was safe. Then, he began getting tickets for running lights and illegal turns/lane usage and such and the police were idiots. He quit spending money in one town as he didn’t want them to get any sales taxes from him.

The final straw came when he led authorities in 2 states on a search mission when he drove off to go to the Walgreens 1/4 mile away and never showed up back at home. He called and was lost in a different state but thought he was near the Walgreens which was at that time 50-60 miles or farther away. The state required he take a more rigorous test at this point and he failed. He still wasn’t willing to give up driving until this happened.

Sure, it is sad to lose this freedom but there are laws to keep people safe. If you have an older car that needs more repairs, you still need to make those repairs to keep the car safe. Cars with bad brakes, steering, and suspension issues, as well as basic safety stuff like lights and the horn, do not pass inspection. Unfortunately people are no different.

I’ve been in one collision with an elderly driver who should not have been driving, and that was almost two decades ago. He pulled out into an intersection when he shouldn’t have, and I wasn’t able to stop in time. Thank goodness I wasn’t speeding, so there was no doubt about who was at fault.

Living in God’s waiting room (Florida), I’ve learned a few things that help me deal with elderly drivers.

First, they tend to drive during weekdays when the rest of us are at work. This creates a good balance since they don’t get caught up in rush hour traffic. If I take a day off or find myself otherwise driving during a week day, I watch out for them.

Lastly, I make my car (and my motorcycle and myself when I am on a motorcycle) easy to see. My car is red and I drive with my lights on whether it’s day or night. When I ride, I wear a red jacket with retroreflective material and a black and white helmet. High contrast colors can help.

When my time comes, and I get too old to drive, I plan to give up my keys gracefully. I’ll move into assisted living and take the shuttle they supply to go places. Independence is overrated. I’ll let someone cook my meals, clean my room, and administer my medications any time. In fact, I’d opt for it now if I could. If I could, I’d move to a retirement community today, play tennis in the morning, hustle other old folks in the pool hall in the afternoon, and fish in a nearby lake the evenings, all things I used to do when I visited my grandmother as a teenager during the summer.

Yes, you are right. Driving during the daytime hours is always the worst for this. Either people who are unemployed and have no where to go fast or older people are out. Either way, both of these tend to be pretty rough drivers.