Personal Views

Drive on

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 22 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:269
  1. Jo Alexander

    We have all seen them--elderly drivers crawling along, dithering at junctions, or not noticing that the lights have changed. But they are not usually dangerous to themselves or to others, apart from the frustration they cause. Many give up gracefully when they realise that it is unwise for them to continue.

    But not so my aunt. She continued to drive into her 90th year, terrifying everyone. Accepting a lift with her was a fate to be avoided at all costs. She had adjusted her seat to a semirecumbent driving position, presumably because she found it more comfortable, and further reduced her view of the road ahead with stickers for various good causes on the driver's side of the windscreen. It was all the more alarming if you knew that she had little feeling in her hands or feet.

    Matters came to a head when a distressed neighbour telephoned me after my aunt had narrowly avoided a head on collision with a bus, pleading with me to do something to stop her driving. Tackling her directly was out of the question. She was strong willed and valued her independence and such an attempt would only have soured our relationship, already difficult at times. She was so …

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