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Does anyone have elderly relatives who shouldn't be driving?

 

My 87-year old aunt has been a poor driver for a very long time.  She had to retake the written test to renew her license, and we all hoped she would fail.  Naturally she aced the written test, but bombed the vision test because her eyes have been deteriorating and can't be corrected with glasses.  Failing the vision test requires a behind the wheel test.  Whew, a sense of relief.  There's no way she's going to pass that. 

 

A few weeks back, she misjudged the turn in the driveway and ran the fender of her Oldsmobile into the side of the garage.  She claims it was my fault because I parked her daughter's extra car in a bad spot.   Nevertheless, she asked me to come over and review some things before her behind the wheel test.  I went over, backed the car out, and we talked for awhile.  Her behind the wheel and me in the passenger seat.  She couldn't figure out the high beams so I walked around to help her.  Once that was finished, she decided to put the car back in the garage.  One minor problem, her vision is so bad she didn't realize I left the passenger side door wide open.  I yelled as loud as I could -- stop, stop, stop -- but she didn't hear a peep!  The open door struck the back of her daughter's car and violently slammed shut.  Both cars damaged.  Best of all, she was completely unaware she ran into anything until I told her.  This too was my fault for leaving the door open. 

 

Last week she failed the behind the wheel test.  Among the things they dinged her for -- not fully stopping at STOP signs, not looking over her shoulders to check blind spots, driving 35 in a 45 zone, and get this: instead of accelerating to merge into the slow lane on the 91 freeway, she came to a full stop and waited for traffic to clear.  She told me the DMV examiner was nice but didn't know what he was doing.  Uh huh.

 

She retook the behind the wheel test today.  Talk about horrifying, not only did they PASS her, they didn't ding her for anything or put any restrictions on her license!

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Jeez, MP, how many different ways are you going to screw over your grandmother? First you park your sister's car in the way then you sabotage her attempt to just put the car in the garage by leaving your door open.

 

You seem to be the biggest problem in this scenario, you've managed to cause damage to two cars and the garage through your negligence. You should offer an apology to your Grandmother and sister before this escalates into a real problem and they involve the Fullerton cops. You know how that will end.

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my dad had his license taken away a few years ago. he was in his early 80s and had some kind of incident where he ran the car up the side of a fwy embankment. he has only given us vague snippets and won't tell us the whole story. insurance company wouldn't cover him anymore and dmv yanked his license. it's a blessing to all that he can't get behind the wheel any longer.

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Haha where did I get grandma from?

 

Well, she does have grandma-like traits. 

 

I asked her a few months ago what the worst part of failing the test would be, just hypothetically.  (1) not being able to get her hair done every Friday, (2) not being able to drive to Walmart, and (3) not being able to drive to the post office to deliver her letters because  "that awful mail lady doesn't come until dinner time".

 

I had to leave the room after #3 because I was busting up with laughter.

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I went through this with my grandfather in Newfoundland. The last time I went up there when he was still driving (he was in his late 80s at this point) I thought that he was going to kill us on the way to the house from the airport. He was driving at a high rate of speed and swerving, and it was about 2 AM and raining (came in on a late flight). My sister had been up to visit him about six months earlier and she said that he got on the Trans Canada Highway going the wrong way (for those unfamiliar, the TCH is roughly equivalent to our interstates, multi-lane limited-access divided highway). She yelled until he pulled over and stopped the car. By the last time I went up he had voluntarily given up his license after having two accidents within a six month period - after driving for pretty much his entire adult life without one. By this time he was 97, and I was relieved that he wasn't behind the wheel anymore. The only surprising thing was that it took as long as it did for his declining judgment to cause an accident. I'm just grateful that neither he nor anyone else was injured.

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no one older than 80-85 should be behind the wheel. Surprised there isn't a law against this by now.

 

By that time, even if a person is mentally sharp their reaction time has declined and decision making has slowed to the point that it poses a danger, especially on major highways. If I reach that age I plan to be in an area where a car is not a necessity, either because services or close by or there is good enough mass transit that I can get where I need to go.

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no one older than 80-85 should be behind the wheel. Surprised there isn't a law against this by now.

Are you really surprised? Do you think anyone in government would face the wrath of AARP to create a law based on a number pulled directly from someone's ass?

 

Better than always always always telling others what they can't do maybe it's better to help them find viable solutions. For most it's not about losing the ability to drive, they would probably rather not, it's about losing the independence that it represents. Maybe it's better to help Great Aunt Lucy find a way to get to the parlor without driving than to just tell her she drives like a blind old lady.

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Maybe it's better to help Great Aunt Lucy find a way to get to the parlor without driving than to just tell her she drives like a blind old lady.

 

In our case, that's a "silly" idea (her words) because she could just drive herself.

 

Her level of mental impairment prevents her from realizing her mental impairment.  If the optometrist were to declare her 90% blind, she wouldn't understand why driving isn't safe because that remaining 10% vision should be more than enough.

 

She's so deaf she can't hear the doorbell with the television on.  Anybody going over there has to call first to get her attention.  Not until a few months ago did she agree to get hearing aids, and now, she refuses to go back to have them tuned up. 

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The population is aging. The problem is likely to get worse. Better to try to come up with viable solutions that to just try another outright ban or arbitrary limit. We're getting to the point in simulation where you can give annual tests without having to hunt down a car with a center hand brake and putting an evaluator in danger 20 times a day.

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Does anyone know any deaf people who drive?  Are they good drivers?

 

When it comes to driving, I personally think hearing is almost as important as vision.  Not being able to hear sirens, honking horns, screeching tires, engine noises, brake or tire problems, people yelling for their attention, etc can be dangerous if not fatal as well. 

 

I think of my aunt a couple weeks ago driving the car into the garage with the door wide open.  I was yelling STOP as loud as I possibly could standing 20 feet behind her.  She didn't hear a thing.  What if I had been yelling for a different reason, like her neighbor's infant child about to be run over?   That kind of thing scares the crap out of me. 

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Jeez, MP, how many different ways are you going to screw over your grandmother? First you park your sister's car in the way then you sabotage her attempt to just put the car in the garage by leaving your door open.

 

You seem to be the biggest problem in this scenario, you've managed to cause damage to two cars and the garage through your negligence. You should offer an apology to your Grandmother and sister before this escalates into a real problem and they involve the Fullerton cops. You know how that will end.

 

And record a video of it to post on youtube.

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