VIEWPOINT - Why I Stopped Driving

wise owlOne of the blessings of running this web site are the "conversations" that I have with the people who find me through my writing. Sometimes they share some very personal views with me and occasionally allow me to share it here. This is one of those stories.

The gentleman suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) which caused him to have episodes of confusion. He came under considerable pressure from his wife and children to stop driving because of it.

He undertook and passed an ICBC Enhanced Road Assessment (ERA) after the TIA.

Despite 60 years of driving experience, he decided that if he stopped there was no longer the possibility of causing a collision that would injure himself or third parties for which he could be held responsible. The decision was proactive, not reactive.

This man provided some points to consider for individuals aged 80+years who might have some health issues (dementia for example) and are deciding whether or not to give up many years of depending on their car.

Expenses eliminated:

  • car insurance
  • car maintenance 
  • gasoline.

He went on to say that the downside of giving up your car is the loss independence. This experience can be resolved to some extent by use of the local bus system, subscribing to Handy Dart (250-390-3000) & 1/2 price taxi service through Handy Dart.

I think that what stands out here is that after careful consideration, even when he passed the ERA, he made the decision to put his safety and the safety of others ahead of his convenience. No doubt it was not a simple decision to make as I expect that his wife also relies on his ability to drive. While she played a part in convincing him to stop driving, he is also giving up what might be seen as a duty to provide for a spouse.

Thank you very much for sharing this with us all and I hope that it may serve as an example for others who find themselves having to make the same decison.

At 87 I feel the road is getting too fast and too hard to drive. The other car that might be getting to close to the bubble I put around my vehicle. Anyway, I am giving up my van with a thank you for being in the passenger seat when I do go for a trip.

... that with some folks, getting older may indeed equate to getting wiser.

I hope that I have the same good sense when the time comes; in particular, the consideration for others.

I was thinking the same thing and appreciating the good people that share with all of us here on the site.

My mother was 88 and living in Edmonton when she had a MVA. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, she ended up handing in her license, and becoming dependant on Edmonton's public transit. Service was so inconvenient, and uncomfortable even, that she basically only went out on Tuesday's for groceries. No more Doctor visits, meeting with friends, running errands. I was helpless to do anything from the Sunshine Coast. 

I was up there visiting one time and I happened to read a flyer stuck to the bulletin board of her apartment block. An organization called Drivehappiness was looking for volunteer drivers for their growing list of seniors who had places to go and no means of doing it other than by bus. I called to see what it was all about, and found out that a person could register, and buy a book of 10 tickets for $150. Each ticket entitled thaat person to an hour and a half of driving services anywhere in town, or you could use 2 tickets for 3 hours etc. I signed her up on the waiting list and about 6 months later she got a client number. I bought her 2 books of tickets and told them to call me for a top up when she got down to 6 left. My mother started going to the weekly seniors luncheon she had been missing, started going to the doctor again, and when she went shopping, the volunteer would come in and help her with her groceries, even so much as getting them up to her 2nd story apartment. She said that everyone she had met were the most "delightful" people, courteous, kind, and helpful. She went through about 4 books before passing away suddenly, and she really got a lot of her life back by using this service. 

Being unable to drive was like a death sentence, Drivehappiness gave her a large portion of her independance back.... too bad this only exists in Edmonton, as far as I know.