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Hanging Up the Keys

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On: Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 9:10AM | By: Karen Cook


Hanging Up the Keys

Driving is a huge responsibility. You take your life and the lives of your passengers into your own hands. The decisions you make while driving could potentially change the lives of anyone on the road, including those not in vehicles. If you’ve read my other pieces you know I like to approach most subjects with a dose of humor. This topic is serious though and you won’t find much to laugh at. Hopefully you will find some food for thought.

No one argues that driving requires a certain amount of life experience. You need a little wisdom gained by suffering the consequences of your past mistakes and also an ability to foresee the outcomes of your actions and how they affect others. Thus, we have a minimum age requirement and 10-year-olds can’t drive. It’s trickier at the other end of the spectrum though. Can you be too old to drive? We all age differently, physically and mentally. Some of us are more likely to develop mobility issues while others may be more susceptible to memory lapses or confusion. So how do you know when to give it up? A standard set by authorities has never been very welcome and is not really feasible anyway. Individually we have to use that wisdom that we should have a decent store of in our later years and recognize when we become a danger to ourselves and others behind the wheel.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if your ability to operate a vehicle may be on the decline:
Do you have difficulty switching between the gas and the brake or do you confuse the two?

Have you gotten lost recently on a familiar roadway?

Do you forget to signal or turn off a signal when you turn?

Do you drive more slowly because you are not confident in the amount of time it takes you to react to changes in traffic?

Do you find yourself getting sleepy when you drive?

Do other drivers honk at you frequently? Do they often pass you?

There are other issues to think about too, such as medications you take and whether they affect your ability to focus on driving. If you’ve had several accidents or close calls in the recent past, it may be time to reevaluate your capabilities before it’s too late. I can’t imagine how I would bear the burden of knowing I really shouldn’t be driving and causing devastating hardship to someone else because I was too proud or embarrassed to give it up. Independence is a difficult thing to let go of because it’s so hard to achieve but is it fair to hold onto it at the expense of someone else’s?

Okay this one was too serious. Here’s a joke to make you smile.

A grizzled old man was eating in a truck stop when three Hell's Angels bikers walked in. The first walked up to the old man, pushed his cigarette into the old man's pie and then took a seat at the counter. The second biker walked up to the old man, spit into the old man's coffee and then he took a seat at the counter. The third walked up to the old man, turned over the old man's plate, and then he took a seat at the counter.

Without a word of protest, the old man quietly paid his bill and left the diner. One of the bikers said to the waitress, "Humph, not much of a man, was he?"

The waitress replied, "Not much of a truck driver either. He just backed his truck over three motorcycles."




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