Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

We we know when to give it up?

A comment by “irlandes” on the New Car thread brought the question to my mind. When will I know it is time for me to stop driving? Like irlandes I retired at 55 and bought a new car figuring it would last about as long as I’d be able to drive, 30 years at about 85.

We had to yank the keys away from my father in law as he was getting confused and lost when driving on unfamiliar roads. He was fine in his own locale driving, but as he was sliding “downhill” in many respects. Will someone have to yank the keys from me?

I suspect my stubborn streak will have me saying I’m fine, it is the other jerks on the road who honk at me and drive like maniacs that are the menace. It is easier to tell someone it is time to quit driving than ourselves.

Will we know when to quit? How will we know when it is time to turn over the keys and take ourselves out of the driver’s seat?

No many us us will not know when it is time and we don’t know now if we will be one of those who does not know.

I have given instructions to my kids to take the keys away when it is time.

As the population ages more and more states are considering laws requiring annual road testing for drivers above a specific age. If your state has none, and this is a concern (sincerest respect for recognizing the problem), perhaps you could arrange annually for a younger family member to spend an afternoon on a sightseeing drive with you and give you an honest assessment. Or start a family tradition of taking them on a day trip every year on your birthday and ask them what they think after every trip.

I have to say that the conscientiousness of your post is humbling to me.

“Will we know when to quit?”

Probably not. Our diminished mental capacity coupled with the slow change will make it seem that we are as sharp as we ever were. Or so it seems to me. I have noticed that I can’t drive as fast as I used to and have adjusted accordingly.

OTOH, my wife’s aunt took herself off the road when she could not drive at 50 MPH anymore. She had removed herself from the interstate several years before that. But there are so many elderly drivers involved in accidents that Auntie’s consideration for others seems like the exception.

You’re so right. The first thing that comes to mind as we age when tailgated or cut off is; I’d like to yank the keys from a lot of divers, younger than the ones we’re talking about.

Unfortunately, we won’t notice when we begin to repeat ourselves, forget things and drool, so we won’t notice when we become a danger to others. It is up to our family.
That’s a great reason to raise responsible kids now and hope they make the right decisions on our behalf later.

First, sorry my proof reading skills didn’t catch the headline which should be “Will we know when to give it up?” There is no way to fix this typo, so we’ll live with it.

Driving is so critical to independance that it will be hard to stop driving. It is more than whether or not you can operate the car, it is acknowledging that you can’t be independant anymore.

My wife and I are now completeing an addition to our home which will be suitable for our “later years”. We are making decisions based on how we maybe less capable in the next 10, 15, or 20 years. We are 60 now and this home will be it for us until either nursing home or whatever. I still slalom ski (water ski), we ride horses, and I play fast pitch baseball. So far I can still do everything I enjoy at a pretty high level of skill. But father time marches on.

I think giving my wife and my kids the “right” to challenge my driving makes sense. I’m sure I won’t want to hear it, but it makes sense.

I would like to think I will give up the keys before I hurt or kill anyone. My plan is to move into assisted living while I am still able to drive so when I do sell the car, the transition will be easier. Some of the better assisted living centers have several different levels of care. They have sections with apartments, sections with nursing care, and assisted living sections that fill the gap. That way, when I have to move from an apartment into assisted living, and from assisted living into nursing care, I will still be in familiar surroundings.

One of my friends knew to quit driving when he stepped on the wrong pedal too many times. He was in his nineties when he died but probably stopped when he was eighty-eight.

The time to stop driving varies a great deal from person to person. My father-in-law voluntarily quit at age 84 when he found his reflexes slowing down. My mother-in-law, however, still has her license at age 92, but will sell her car this fall, and start taking taxis.

Years ago I was nearly killed by my landlord, age 85, at college, who offered me a ride and made a left turn into oncoming traffic. The car was demolished and miraculously we had no injuries. The police tested him and his reaction time was 3/4 second! The normal reaction time of an average driver is less that 1/10 of a second. He was grounded immediately; in those days seniors did not go for annual test after age 80.

The bad one are poor drivers who will not give up driving; they will eventually cause a very serious accident.