Elaine recently retired from driving, in this guest blog for RoSPA's Life on the Road campaign, she explains why.
"I stopped driving around 2 years ago. I'm 67 now and had been aware for some time that my reactions were slowing down.
I was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) 3 years ago and whilst I still retain 6/5 in both eyes I was aware that I was having to turn my head more when turning right.
Prior to giving up driving I was experiencing difficulties with things that I thought as normal, such as I found myself almost blinded by car headlights, especially the new LED lights. I became more aware of having to screw my eyes up due to sunlight - not ideal when driving. As I wear vari-focal lenses, ordinary sunglasses were of no use, and many a time I was trying to change to vari-focal sunglasses whilst driving on motorway, and vice versa when sun disappeared – a rather dangerous distraction!
My main concern was when turning left onto main road I had a near miss when I didn’t notice a car -luckily he saw me! This gave me such a shock I became more aware of my problems while driving and realised that I had probably become what is known as a ‘Sunday driver’ – my being timid whilst driving, I was annoying other drivers with my over-cautiousness.
Eventually it got to the stage that when out as a group, unless they had been drinking and/ or not too far from home, my friends and family didn’t wanted me to drive. I decided it was time to retire from driving. My car was due for MOT and required work so I bit the bullet and sold it. Don’t get me wrong, I do miss driving, but to me life- my own and everyone else’s - is important, and I did not want to be responsible for injury or worse.
It can take longer and more planning to get around but I let the bus and train take the strain. It takes 45 minutes to get to hospital by car, against 2 hours and 2 buses. I'm lucky because a neighbour offered to take me for my appointments, and my family help out too.
Socially things have changed too, as I now need to arrange to meet friends in Glasgow, rather than their homes, for lunch - but that's no hardship, I love getting into the city for a few hours.
I see people in my circle still on the road because they don't want to give up their independence, but they are an accident waiting to happen.
Overall I would recommend other folks try retiring from driving. It's much less stressful using other modes of transport to get about."
For more about driving over 65 www.LifeontheRoad.org.uk
Posted: 2/24/2020 11:35:10 AM