As I was coming back home from the gym, I was stopped at a very busy four-way intersection. The problem here is only one road has stop signs as the main road always has cars whizzing around the corner. You begin to inch up as the last car passes, but then another truck comes whizzing by when you’re about to cross. After patiently waiting a couple minutes, I finally had my chance to go. But just as I was creeping forward, I saw a van coming up the road. I was in that awkward situation where I don’t know if I have enough time to go or I should just wait. I decided to be a nice guy and let the car pass. I guess it might have been my quick glance, but I didn’t realize this car was rolling at about five miles per hour. It was close enough for me to wait, but since it was traveling seven times slower than the actual speed limit I could have crossed the road probably three times back and forth. At first, I thought the car was stalling out or something terrible had happened to the driver. As I was ready to get out and help, I quickly realized what was going on: old people driving.
It was a elderly couple peering out the dashboard window. The woman sitting in the passenger seat seemed like she was in pain with a grimace I’ve only seen people passing a kidney stone make. I couldn’t even see the driver, but could tell it was her husband by the cap that just creeped above his steering wheel. I see it all the time with elderly men that operate cars but don’t fix the seat so they can actually see all of the road. This moment seemed like it lasted a week as the couple’s car actually moved in the middle of the intersection to make a right hand turn. They almost clipped my car as they swerved into the street. I was dumbfounded that these people thought it was a good idea to drive. They are clearly aware that they can’t handle all the responsibilities of operating a car.
Now I understand some senior citizen are in different situations. They might not have a loved one or any family close enough to drive them around places. It actually made me really appreciate having a car that I take for granted. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t just pick my keys up and go wherever I needed to without a hassle. It was a nightmare when my car was in the shop for one day and I couldn’t get out of my house. I could never imagine someone knowing that they weren’t fit to drive for the rest of their lives.
It is a terrible thing to have to deal with, but there are also solutions. Hopefully, some retirees have saved enough throughout their life that they can afford a car service to get them to certain places. I’m not saying rent out a limo to drive to Atlantic City every weekend, but there are affordable driving arrangements to help elderly citizen get to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, and visiting friends/family. And if they really planned ahead and worked on your savings, it’d be possible for retired people to reside in a adult community. I have actually visited one of these places recently, and I was tempted to live there. They have everything you could need from grocery stores, doctor offices, recreation centers, and even a bowling alley. The houses are wonderful and feel like you just bought a brand new place to call your own. However, not everyone sees eye to eye about this.
Now, this post isn’t about bashing grandmas and grandpas. I just feel like safety should be an issue and taken seriously. Some people feel like age doesn’t affect them, when they can barely read the signs and determine if the light is green or red. I have seen elderly citizens drive with their nose on the steering wheel as they can barely see the road with glasses thicker than actual street signs. They don’t want to be burdened with relying on others so they can still feel like they have independence in their lives. It’s probably the worst feeling knowing you are not as youthful as you used to be. But people that are not capable of driving should not be on the road. They not only put themselves in harm, but also can cause serious injuries to other people. The past year I have seen the terrifying videos of elderly people driving into grocery stores at about forty miles per hour crashing into shoppers and even children. I personally think after a certain age that everyone should be retested and given eyes exams. It may be the only way to bring them to the grim reality that their days of driving have come to an end. Hopefully, most people will grow old with loved ones and family they can rely on. While I love driving, I sadly know one day I will have to hang up my keys for good as well.