Column: It drives me crazy


It drives me crazy.

If you have spoken these words, you might be an elderly driver circling a roundabout. This comment also applies to residents who have recently relocated from an area without roundabouts. But the good news is it doesn’t take long to adapt and appreciate their convenience.

Elderly drivers may have several challenges that they are reluctant to admit for fear that they will lose their driving privilege. If they live alone, this is especially difficult. Living in a retirement community makes it much easier to live happily without driving because the community provides transportation to essential services such as medical appointments, grocery stores and other daily needs.

So, what’s the criteria for knowing if you are still a safe driver? Here are a few: Can you look over both shoulders to change lanes? Can you easily move your foot from the gas pedal to the brake? Can you turn the steering wheel without fatigue? Are you confused about where you are? Have you had some minor fender benders? Maybe you find yourself feeling drowsy while driving. Night driving may have become difficult.

There is a free program online at developed by the American Society on Aging, AAA and AARP that you can use to review your driving habits. Or you can call a local driving school and ask if they do evaluations for driving aptitude. I’m familiar with this service, having used it for my late husband. A geriatric counselor had advised me that it wasn’t my responsibility to evaluate his driving and determine if he should continue. An appointment was made, the driving instructor accompanied my husband on a drive and then he reported by phone the results. He determined that driving should cease, and there was no difficulty about the decision.

There are certainly other reasons to proclaim, “Drives me crazy!” It could be your neighbor, your spouse, your children, coworkers, or you can make your own list. Learning to manage your aggravations before they become stressors requires self-discipline and special skills. Try meditation, yoga, an exercise class or a counselor. Being able to maintain a sense of humor and have a self-chuckle keeps you and everyone around you happy.