In the area I live there re many retired and a lot of old people many of whom are still driving. There is one particular old lady aged about 80 so short that she just about sees above the dashboard. She is totally oblivious to what is going on around her, two examples: She went to park in the High Street in quite a big space, the street is fairly narrow and one way. She drove down at about 2 mph until she got to the parking place. She then shunted backwards and forwards about 10 times until she was happy. A queue formed.
She then got out of her car into the middle of the road and walked along with me driving at the front of the line behind. I was smiling but thinking ‘oh it’s her again’. She walked for about 50 yards ignoring two people who pointed out that traffic was following her, I don’t think she even registered that anyone was talking to her. When she saw her shop she walked onto the pavement.
Another local woman drives really wide around bends, there are a few here. When turning left for example she ends up on the wrong side of the Road until she sorts herself out. When turning left into her driveway she suddenly pulls out to the right side of the road without signalling, this enables her to swing in at a nice angle but surprises following traffic.
The reason I am mentioning this is because yesterday an 84 year old woman drove the wrong way up the busy A1 motorway, in the subsequent accident she killed herself and seriously injured another. This type of driving by old people is fairly regular.
When should people be stopped from driving? I know it takes away their last bit of freedom but surely they should have a test after certain age, and pay for it themselves each year. I wouldn’t mind that when my time comes because at least I will know and not kill anyone. Traffic Police friends tell me that it is normally family members that urge a person to give up but that is very difficult. My old Mum had alzeimers, she didn’t drive luckily but if she did she would never have listened to me and the Police do not have the power to take away someone’s licence unless there has been an accident or incident and other factors.
On the other hand some people in their 90’s are competent drivers. I have been talking about the UK so far but I know a very old lady in Minneapolis (she knows who I am talking about) who drives very well, however when should such people recognise at which point to question themselves and what should the authorities do about it?