Gransnet forums


my 93 yr old mother insists on driving !

(167 Posts)
topsyturvey Mon 06-Feb-17 12:07:54

I am 65yrs old and my mother is just turned 93. She is a very very determined and independant old lady and can be very difficult. She also has macular degeneration but seems to have held on to her licence. She drives locally all the time and has never had an accident other than bumps on her car, but
I last drove with her as a passenger about 3 yrs ago and I was PETRIFIED! She drove her tiny Kia at 80mph down the motorway and when she took the East sliproad out on to the A30, not the West, she backed up the slip road and did a 3 point turn to get off. I got out of the car and was furious and thoroughly frightened. She told me I was a hysteric!
I am going down to visit her next week and unfortunately looks as if my DH will have to take the car for a couple of days and leave me without it. My mother wants us to have a day out to a small rural town in Devon about an hour from where she lives, which is also in a country area but involves some motorway driving.

I suggested that I drove her car when I came down as it was quite a long way , but she wouldnt have it at all and said it was her car and she would drive and anyway I wasnt insured to drive it. I think I am as I have my own insurance, although it would be 3rd party only; her car is not valuable so if in the very unlikely event I did have a prang it wouldn't be a disaster. and its already got loads of little dents!
I really dont want to drive with her again as a passenger and am thinking of making an excuse to visit her at a later date when I have my car. And even then, she is likely to say that we take her car and she will drive.
Am I being unreasonable or a coward !?

Mauriherb Mon 06-Feb-17 13:15:21

What a dilemma! I hope someone comes up with an answer ! Is there a medical reason why she might be Unsafe? I know that age should not be a barrier but driving on a motorway requires quick reflexes . Good luck , my parents would never admit that they couldn't/shouldn't be doing something

Elrel Mon 06-Feb-17 13:24:40

When did your DM last have an eye test? Opticians assess whether a client's sight has deteriorated to the point where he or she shouldn't be behind the wheel.
You must be very concerned for DM, other road users and, indeed, yourself. Being in a car with her sounds scary.

Elrel Mon 06-Feb-17 13:25:45

I notice you said 'seems' to have held on to her licence. Are you sure it's still valid?

ninathenana Mon 06-Feb-17 13:29:55

A tricky situation.
You can report her to the DVLA they then speak to her GP.
Or as some on another forum I use have done, disable the car in some way i.e. disconnect the battery or hide the keys. Underhand I know but if it saves her or the other driver so be it.

NfkDumpling Mon 06-Feb-17 13:30:15

Perhaps a little bit cowardly not having the courage to refuse to sit in the passenger seat. Just say No!

thatbags Mon 06-Feb-17 13:31:16

I'm sure there are laws about how often people over a certain age and/or who have eyesight issues. Perhaps you should familiarise yourself with these and make sure she isn't breaking them, though how this could happen when DVLA has her details, I don't really know.

Driving at 80mph, though above the speed limit, is actually very common on motorways, so much so that if you are sticking to 70mph you are permanently in someone else's way: you will be too fast in the inside lane and too slow in the middle lane.

If you are really terrified, refuse to go on a day trip with her unless you drive.

Luckygirl Mon 06-Feb-17 13:33:10

I would be honest - just say that you are not going to be a passenger in her car as you feel her driving is no longer safe. If she tells you you are hysterical, just say "That's as maybe, but I am not coming in the car with you driving."

I said something similar to my Dad - it was hard. but he took it on the chin.

You should not get in the car with her - end of.

JackyB Mon 06-Feb-17 13:35:45

A very difficult situation. My mother (now 97) stopped driving when my father died - the cost of the insurance would have prevented her keeping a car anyway, (she had never been insured in her own name, and my father had been a commercial traveller with a very clean license, so his premiums were quite low).

She said that old ladies had no business behind the wheel, and stopped. She used her bus pass, but that has now got too much and my sister organises her a taxi into town on hairdresser's day.

There have been threads on Gransnet where many of us have noticed our courage waning, particularly with regard to driving, so I'm surprised that your mother has no compunction at 93 - normally I would say "Well done her".

If her eyesight is deteriorating, she will certainly not have her license renewed next time round, but for the time being, I really can't think of a solution. Would there be a chance of her car not passing its MOT or some other circumstance that would keep her off the road?

Luckygirl Mon 06-Feb-17 13:36:59

thatbags - the speed limit is 70 and NO-ONE should exceed it.
Spoken as someone who worked in a trauma unit for many years.

ninathenana Mon 06-Feb-17 13:47:21

Refusing to get in the car will save topsyturveys sanity but it means her mother is still putting herself and others at risk.

whitewave Mon 06-Feb-17 13:53:56

bags allow no one to intimidate you! 70 mph within the law. Anything else is breaking the law.

thatbags Mon 06-Feb-17 13:57:43

Stop making assumptions, ww. Explaining is not endorsing (again).

thatbags Mon 06-Feb-17 13:58:47

Agreed, lucky. But a lot of people do speeds greater than 70 on motorways.


whitewave Mon 06-Feb-17 13:59:45

Stop being so aggressive bags again. It was trying to help.

M0nica Mon 06-Feb-17 14:01:01

Why not get her a voucher for an older persons assessment by the Institute of Advance Motorists . Tell her if they are entirely happy with her driving you will travel with her again. If she doesn't, you won't.

If she does any of the things you describe during the assessment they will tell her she needs to turn her licence in.

Hilltopgran Mon 06-Feb-17 14:02:03

I understand your dilema, my Mother was a determined and independent woman who refused to give up driving, sometimes you have to stand firm, tell her you do not think she is safe, do not agree to travel with her and as others have suggested check that she has told the truth to her insurers and on renewing her licence. Whilst staying could you go with her for an eye test so you both know the upto date situation with her eyes.

Your Mother probably knows the time she has left to drive is coming to an end and is fighting the inevitable, which will probably make her even more determined to do it her way. However, if she has an accident you need to know she is properly covered for the sake of whoever else might be involved.

thatbags Mon 06-Feb-17 14:04:12

How is telling me not to speed trying to help what the OP is about, ww? Seriously. And how is objecting to what you implied about my driving aggressive? In my view your posts are the aggressive ones.

Katek Mon 06-Feb-17 14:06:14

You have my sympathies tt-my fil is 90 this year and still insists on driving. He collects us from the station when we go down to visit despite us saying it's no problem to get a taxi. I sit in the back trying not to squeal out loud as his decision making at junctions is erratic to say the least. I'm sure I must have left gouge marks in the upholstery. It really is a problem as he is, like your mother, determined to keep driving and won't listen to anyone. Wish I could offer helpful suggestions but we're in the same boat!

MissAdventure Mon 06-Feb-17 14:09:06

I know its sad for folk to accept, but they shouldn't be on the road if their driving is so erratic.
Its an awful risk to so many people.

SueDonim Mon 06-Feb-17 14:09:52

To deal with your immediate problem, could you hire a car for your visit, so that you can do the driving?

whitewave Mon 06-Feb-17 14:11:40

bags you intimated that if you drive at 70 mph you are constantly getting in someone's way. I simple said don't let people intimate you. So before going off in a huff, stop and consider what someone is trying to say, and before you reply in an aggressive way try asking what the poster meant. Then the wheels will be better oiled and we wouldn't get into this silliness.

whitewave Mon 06-Feb-17 14:12:12


thatbags Mon 06-Feb-17 14:12:53

Yes ma'am.

whitewave Mon 06-Feb-17 14:15:12

Good smile have a good day