Letter to the Editor – driving & ageing


Dear Editor,

After reading the letter from the pedestrian, I’d like to share my thoughts regarding driving and ageing. I, hopefully, am not ageist, but I am pushing 70, and my confidence and skills behind the wheel are showing it. I don’t like big city driving anymore and I plan my rare trips into Ottawa for off-peak traffic.

In the last 6 months, I’ve been involved in two collisions, with no injuries but with significant consequences, further taxing my confidence. Those accidents had much in common – they were in small towns, at low speed, under good conditions and, for the benefit of trolls, I WAS NOT AT FAULT AND COULD NOT AVOID THE HIT. In the first accident, the other vehicle was a write-off, and in the second our vehicle was written off. (BTW – shout out to the young Smiths Falls motorist who yelled at us to get our cars off the street while we were still making sure there were no injuries.)

Finally, and to the point of this letter, the other drivers were both 90 years old. I feel for both of them as they seemed quite capable, independent people but, in one case, I expect that it was her final day at the wheel, as she was quite traumatized. Literally, a costly and life-changing event.

So, my thoughts are about driving in evermore complex conditions knowing that my skills are not going to improve and knowing that there are so many like me out there. I am very happy about new initiatives to provide community transportation and I hope such programmes grow and are supported broadly. More needs to be done, however, in screening drivers for their ability to drive. As we age, we are all faced with two of life’s most difficult problems: when to move out of our houses, and when to give up our driver’s permit. Family, friends and community all must play a role in helping in those transitions.

Reliable, self-driving transportation (real auto-mobiles), there’s a thought!



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