Geriatric Road Ramblings

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I feel like I’ve been complaining a lot lately, but I have one more thing to bitch moan about and I promise to move on to happier, brighter topics (like my upcoming X5 tester and the brand new Jaguar XJ).

So, as I’m sure you’ve already deduced from the title, oh faithful reader, I have an issue with elderly people venturing out on the open road in a vehicle. And I’m talking geriatric here. Like, if my 18-year-old cat were a human being and she decided she wanted to head to the store for some milk it would just a bad idea all together.

Seriously. For those of you who know Spooky, you know what I’m talking about. Yikes.

As we age, we digress. Life tends to be pretty cyclical, just as we emerge into the world helpless and dependent, so too do we exit it. The older we get, the less we function properly: from our sight to our hearing, sense of touch, taste and ability to react to situations — everything dwindles.

And this is why I propose scheduled retesting for anyone over the age of 65. I know that some states already implement this, and I’m not sure about my own provinces. But I think, starting at 65, we should all be mandated to take our driver’s test again to prove we’re able to handle the skills needed to drive properly. From checking blind spots to parallel parking properly, we need to be tested. And this retesting should occur again at 70, then every 2 years after that until the individual decides to give up their license entirely or they pass on, whichever comes first.

I don’t think this is unreasonable.

I’ve seen elderly people back out of parking spots into oncoming traffic without turning their heads — literally putting it into reverse and going. Whatever they hit, they hit — they’re clearly too old to care and don’t have the mobility to actually turn their heads to check for oncoming traffic. Yes, I believe Spooky would probably pull a move like this.

I don’t want to endorse taking away an elderly person’s mobility or keeping them cooped up in a home, but I do want to endorse making our roads safer and keeping our elderly people safe.

Too many times I’ve witnessed a confused elderly driver cause some form of traffic jam or a near-crash incident. And what gets me is that they have no idea what they’ve done wrong. I’ve honked before, if only to get their attention and warn them of their impending doom and there was no reaction. It was as if he was in his own little bubble — or maybe he was asleep or worse, dead.

And if that had been Spooky at the wheel she, would have only paid attention to me if I showed her a can of food or treats, at which point she would just stare, wide-eyed and scream.

Sounds about right.

She's cute, but I wouldn't let her drive...

Drive on,
– M.

~ by drivingmsmiranda on July 24, 2010.

One Response to “Geriatric Road Ramblings”

  1. Yo Miranda!

    Ever since I read this post last week, I have been extremely aware of how many senior citizen drivers there are around here. I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia in New Jersey, and most of the roads are two ways and have two lanes of traffic going in each direction. Every time I approach a car that is riding over the double yellow or driving over the dotted white line, I have to look at the driver as I pass them (perhaps I should be keeping my eyes on the road???). I have noticed many a driver over 70, with that blank stare and the death grip on the steering wheel. There are infinitely more cars on the road today than there were 20 or 30 years ago, and cars have evolved into very heavy and very powerful machines. I couldn’t agree more with your re-testing proposal. I’d like to take it a step further. EVERYONE should be retested, and as you get older, the retesting should occur more frequently. Driver education in the US is a joke. I was given a driver’s license when I was 16 after just 6 hours of on the road driving instruction. I passed the driver’s test on the first try, but there is no way that I should have been allowed on the road by myself. It’s a miracle that I didn’t kill someone. Let’s tighten up the regulations and make the roads safer for everyone!



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