Open Thread

Open Thread Update: How’s My Driving?

On Friday, June 4, we posted our most recent Open Thread: How’s My Driving?  asking your thoughts on older drivers and when and why you should give up the keys.

As a refresher, younger people, a study said, fear telling their parents to give up the car keys more than they fear talking about plans for when they die. The NIH has an extensive website all about older drivers (find it here) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has published statistics on older drivers that are hopeful but still daunting. States have been stepping up to check on the driving skills of older people, too; for more information, the list is here.

Most people who responded have stopped driving in the past few years for preventative measures. Some had personal experiences getting in accidents, either as older drivers themselves or with another older driver.

Our takeaway: there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to when you should give up your keys. And, when you become an older drive, other people will have strong opinions about it, whether you are involved in an accident or not.

“A year ago I had my daughter drive with me and do a critique as though she were the state examiner. I passed. However, although my reflexes are good, one of my eyes is not what it should be – even with glasses. So I decided to stop before I became one of the many bad drivers on our highways.”

-Russ F.

 

Commenters seemed to agree that seniors who reach a certain age (many said +/- 70) should be required to pass additional driving tests.

“I really do feel strongly that people who have reached a certain age…maybe 70… should be required to pass a test, or something similar, when renewing their license.”

-Shirley C.

 

If you’re not on the road – you might not be missing out (Virge – here’s looking at you!). A few people commented that driving simply isn’t what it used to be. With increased road activity and an overall lack of road courtesy, the joy of driving has dwindled.

“So much going on, motorcycles, scooters, all running the lights and stop signs, people jumping in front of you on their phones not caring that the light changed.”

-Judy P.

 

Have more to say about this topic? We’ll keep this posted for a while so you can add your ideas, second thoughts, or even third thoughts. Keep sending your thoughts in the comments and we’ll revisit this topic again!

 

Suzanne Myklebust is Senior Planet’s Associate Director of Communications – stepping in to post this Open Thread Update for Senior Planet’s Managing Editor Virge Randall while she is out of town. Send your suggestions for future Open Threads to Virge at editor@seniorplanet.org.

 

COMMENTS

10 responses to “Open Thread Update: How’s My Driving?

  1. I am 76 going on 77 in July. I still drive in New York, mainly in the Bronx, but sometimes I just feel like leaving NY. So much going on, motorcycles, scooters, all running the lights and stop signs, people jumping in front of you on their phones not caring that the light changed. Instead of them watching for cars coming. one has to watch out for them so I slow down on local streets. In the 56 years that I have been driving I’ve had 4 accidents 1 being my fault. I still feel I’m a safe driver. I love driving. i’ve driven in Florida and Puerto Rico and if you’ve driven there you can drive anywhere, but I do agree with the two people that said after a certain age seniors should be given a road test. Good luck to us,

    1. At night, tailgaters resort to throwing on their brights. Besides being blind, if you tap your brakes, it’s aggressive driving.

      Common sense demands cyclists use reflectors of any type to increase their visibility. It’s not unusual to see cyclists without reflectors at night. Dressed in completely dark clothes, it seems they’re trying to make a statement they’re immune to serious consequences. It’s probably an “I dare you” attitude.

      The fatality would not only affect their loved ones but those of an unfortunate driver as well—sheer arrogance affecting others for the rest of their lives.

  2. I’m 92 and no longer drive. Only stopped 1 year ago. Had driven since 18 and only had one ticket though I deserved more!! A year ago I had my daughter drive with me and do a critique as though she were the state examiner. I passed. However, although my reflexes are good, oe of my eyes is not what it should be – even with glasses. So I decided to stop before I became one of the many bad drivers on our highways.
    I think drivers over 70 should be periodically retested. Many states have a point system for tickets, but there are nowhere enough traffic police to do a thorough job. I pushed and had intersection cmeras installed on traffic lights in my city and wow did they catch a lot of red light runners.
    Driving is no longer the fun it used to be and road courtesy seems to have almost vanished!!

  3. This is a bit off the subject. I quit driving 3 years ago. I’m amazed at the number of cars driving with one headlight. At night, it looks just like a motorcycle.
    On another note, there were signs about motorcycles saying, “Loud pipes save lives.!!!” Now, cars drown out the motorcycles.
    What do I know?! I’m a 75-year-old disabled vet watching all this from a city bus, with nothing but awe and admiration for the bus operator.

  4. My 97 year old aunt just told me she has decided to stop driving. This is not because she has any difficulty, but she fears that if there IS an incident, she will be blamed simply due to her age. While that is unfair, it’s probably true. Fortunately, she has family and friends willing and able to take her where she wants to go, but all are not that lucky.

  5. I am almost 92 years old and I still drive…even at night. At 17, I had a learners permit, passed the test at 18 and bought a 10 year old 38 Pontiac at 19. Drove that car all over until 1952 when I married and we moved to Poughkeepsie, NY and didn’t need two cars. We returned to Plattsburgh a year later and I drove all over NY state for years and even drove my son’s old stick shift Jeep in Arizona when we visited.

    I have never had a ticket, never been warned or stopped for anything illegal, never had an accident ( though my car looks otherwise.). I have TWO cushions to see the windshield but I still LOVE to drive and feel save. I don’t drive long distances anymore and miss it, but feel my reflexes are not as great and I might not do as well safety wise.

    However, I really do feel strongly that people who have reached a certain age…maybe 70… should be required to pass a test, or something similar, when renewing their license. Some young people are more of a menace on the road with their tailgating, speeding, talking and texting! If I drive with any of my kids I ask them to please tell me if they feel it is time to stop. It will be a terrible adjustment for me but I would not be able to live with myself if I injured another person or worse. Even an accident of any kind at my age would stop me from driving.

  6. I think regular testing, both on the laws and regulations for driving (since they are updated periodically) and on the road/in the vehicle, should be mandatory -but not just for seniors. I am continually amazed at the number of drivers that don’t know right of way rules, can’t parallel park, over-estimate their skills, don’t know the following and stopping distance for various speeds, etc. Driving, and the inherent risk to yourself, others and property, is an activity that should strive for the highest standards.

    1. I agree with you about testing. Especially after 60. I was traffic flagman when I lived in Lewiston, ME. 4 of the last 5 years I lived there. I was taught to face the driver straight on. To have my STOP sign front and facing the driver. To have my left hand extended in the air with the palm side out. In too many cases the first car would be an elderly driver. Later in the day they would say “I couldn’t see you”. That is why I say re-test after 60.

  7. I’m 83 years old and on my birthday I was involved in an accident. It was dark & raining. Not necessarily my fault but I was making a left hand turn which according to some, makes it my fault. I have not had any type of accident in over 30 years and have never had any kind of moving violation in over 50 years of driving. The insurance company totaled my car which meant I had to buy a new one. My youngest son absolutely did not want me to buy another car. According to him, I have children & grandchildren who all drive and they should be able to take me anywhere I need to go. Of course, they also all have jobs & most don’t live that close. Fortunately, for me, not one of his 3 brothers or my doctor agreed with him. One of my other sons was kind enough to go with me to help with the new car buying process. He did manage to damage my self-esteem, but I’m getting past it. The new car has a lot of safety features and I love it!

  8. I am paralyzed after a 78 y/o woman hit me in the back while I was riding my bicycle on Main St (Route 18) in S Weymouth, MA. I was on the right side of the road traveling in the same direction as traffic. She was driving her car too far to the right and hit me in the back. Seniors need to be tested after 60.

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