How many years have your parents been driving?
Maybe 40 years? Fifty? Sixty?
However long, just like for all of us, it’s a major symbol of independence for the elderly. It’s the license, the key, the car: clear and tangible vestiges of personal power.
But let’s face it, driving also requires a host of skills—eyesight and depth of vision, hearing, eye-hand-foot coordination, reflexes; often, fast decision making, and more.
While a long and clean driving record is admirable, it’s not a guarantee that the longer you live the better you drive. In fact, it’s statistically likely that the longer you drive, the higher the probability of an accident. Especially as you age and not all personal systems are as finely tuned as they used to be.
How many elderly people do you know who still drive, but shouldn’t be? Yet they do, because they demand the right to drive and family often doesn’t have the heart to take them off the road.
There are lots of ways to get elderly people out from behind the wheel if we truly suspect they’re no longer competent drivers. One is to get they’re doctor to write a report noting driving isn’t safe any more, and licenses are instantly revoked. Another is to go with elderly parents to observe their renewal driving and written tests.
Still another— and perhaps the best— is to help an aging parent self-discover (with some very smart and unnoticed guidance) that owning a car is actually a rather expensive option. With limited income, there are other options that can net thousands of saved dollars annually.
It’s a tricky maneuver, but one that can save money, worry, accidents, and even lives.