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Should DH drive eight to nine hours in one day

(85 Posts)
maddyone Sun 14-Jul-19 21:56:58

My DH is 67 years old. His parents are both still alive, they are both 92 and live independently together about 250 miles from us. About three times a year, often for their birthdays and before Christmas, he drives up to their home, starting out about 5.30 in the morning, spends the day with them, and drives back at about 6.00 or 7.00 in the evening. The one way trip takes about four to four and a half hours, assuming no traffic jams. He is a very capable driver, has driven all over Europe and parts of America, and has been driving for over forty, nearly fifty years. He has never had an accident, and only ever had one speeding ticket, back in 1974. However, I don’t like him doing this, I feel so much driving in one day is unsafe, especially as he ages. He refuses for us to go together, and to stay a couple of nights in a Premier Inn, saying he doesn’t want to drag it out and make a big thing of it. I stay at home as I don’t want to sit in a car for eight to nine hours in one day. If I try to dissuade him, he gets a bit cross and tells me to stop trying to control him. But I worry about him. When I tell him how I feel, he just says he’s never had an accident. No he hasn’t, not yet. I worry, AIBU?

SirChenjin Sun 14-Jul-19 22:09:39

No YANBU to worry - that’s a lot of driving in one day, but it sounds like you’re not going to get anywhere with this one. Why is he being so stubborn? Is he worried about getting older and sees this as a way of proving to himself he’s still as capable as he was when he was younger? I’m just thinking out loud so that might be complete rubbish! Would it not be possible for him to stay overnight with them and have a bit more time together?

SueDonim Sun 14-Jul-19 22:10:58

I was going to say that I didn't see a problem as we make a 500 mile drive in one day regularly but having looked at your detailed info, no I wouldn't be happy with that. To get up at 5am and still be driving more than 18 hours later is a long time without sleep.

Could he not stop over for one night? It requires a minimum of packing, basically, a tooth brush and change of clothes. He could travel down at a reasonable time in the morning, see his parents later on, then have a sleep overnight. Next day, see his parents again and maybe go for lunch, then set off home and be back early evening.

Or just go with him. My dh and I share the driving but I've taken to knitting or crocheting when I'm not in the driving seat. There's also radio or podcasts to listen to.

tanith Sun 14-Jul-19 22:11:40

I’d worry too, that journey would tax anyone, I’m 71 and recently drove for 6 hrs with a short break which was certainly my limit. If he won’t agree to stay overnight there’s not a lot you can do. Just keep voicing your concerns.

paddyann Sun 14-Jul-19 22:12:52

My husband would be livid if I thought he was too old to drive that sort of distance and he's mid sixties too.He drove over 300 miles with my son to collect a car last month and back straight away only stopping for a snack on the motorway,I fyour husband feels he's capable dont try to control him its not fair ,my MIL had this from FIL in the end she just gave up driving and when he died she could have done with her car but her confidence was gone .67 isn't old by any means and as he says he hasn't had an accident so leave him be .Why look for things to worry about?

SueDonim Sun 14-Jul-19 22:22:01

Paddyann, are you seriously suggesting that to still be driving after 18 hours without sleep is a good idea? It's not allowed for professional drivers and I think the OP is right to be concerned.

I do agree that 67 isn't old but I'd worry if one of my children proposed to drive for that long without resting.

Urmstongran Sun 14-Jul-19 22:22:20

My husband is 67y too. He drove up to Plockton in Wester Ross from South Manchester one day (9 hours - 8 driving & 1hr for 2 stops) and 6 days later did the same in reverse.

Nowadays we have mobile phones for keeping in touch - he could always call you or his parents to change any arrangements.

Try not to worry. He is confident and probably, like my husband, enjoys driving.

lemongrove Sun 14-Jul-19 22:27:47

maddy my DH is older than yours, but even if he wasn’t I would kick up a fuss if he ever mooted the idea of all that driving in one day.
However good a driver, when we are older it is definitely too much.I cannot understand why he ( or both of you if you go as well) cannot stay somewhere overnight.

M0nica Sun 14-Jul-19 22:29:44

Absolutely not, at any age. Stupid dangerous ideas of machismo: 'Of course I can do it, I always have.' (thumps chest and pretends to be a gorilla, metaphorically) is what causes accidents and kills people.

annep1 Sun 14-Jul-19 22:55:05

Too much in one day. Has been fortunate in not having an accident. Should stay one night.

MissAdventure Sun 14-Jul-19 22:58:39

I would be very uneasy about it, even more so because he'll be driving alone.
Sometimes someone who is losing concentration doesn't even notice it themself.

Nannyfaraway Sun 14-Jul-19 23:01:06

Sounds too much in one day to me.
My husband has done that before but very rarely and he is 59.
We tend to do a stop over if we have to go a long way

Tangerine Mon 15-Jul-19 00:02:01

Do you drive? If you did half the driving, the problem would go and, although sitting in a car for so long isn't exactly thrilling, it isn't too bad.

I suppose it depends too on how you feel about your in-laws. Do they mind that you don't go.

I would find what your husband does too much for me but we're all different.

cornergran Mon 15-Jul-19 00:12:45

I’m wondering why you don’t visit your in-laws maddyone. Have you never gone? 500 miles in one day is a lot of driving no matter the age of the driver. . I think whoever was to be visited we would both go, share the driving and factor in an overnight stay if possible. When younger we may well have done it in a day, certainly not now as it simply would feel unsafe. So, no you aren’t being unreasonable to be concerned. In your shoes I’d be inviting myself along, sharing the driving and turning the trip into a pleasant overnight stay.

SueH49 Mon 15-Jul-19 00:19:19

I don't see a problem. Your DH seems to be quite capable of the trip and having done it often is one he is obviously comfortable with. It is basically two four and a half hour trips with a break in between. What would he be doing in the time he is with his parents?

Tommy16 Mon 15-Jul-19 01:07:10

I'm 67 still driving articulated lorries ,10 hours driving in one day is the maximum legally, spread over 15 hours ,its tiring so 18 hours is a bit much

stella1949 Mon 15-Jul-19 04:13:47

I'm 70 and regularly drive 13 hours at a stretch to visit DD. But having said that, I do it in one go with just a lunch break, and after leaving at 5am I'm there for dinner at 6-30 pm.

However I wouldn't be so keen to do two longish drives in one day with a parental visit in the middle, and still driving until about midnight.

Why don't you go along and share the driving ?

Katyj Mon 15-Jul-19 06:50:44

I'm also wondering why you don't go, surley your in laws would like to see you too.Why don't you turn it into a bit of a holiday, book into a nice hotel, for a couple of days, you could see the in laws for a short period over two or three days then .Sounds to me like he's just going out of duty and wants it over with as soon as possible.Good luck, hope he changes his mind, as he gets older this isn't going to be a good idea.

Anja Mon 15-Jul-19 06:58:23

What’s your problem? He’s happy to do it amd it’s only 3 times a year. His parents are very old and must look forward to such visits.


annep1 Mon 15-Jul-19 07:01:07

Maddyone has already said her husband refuses to go with her and stay a few nights.
I wouldn't expect her to do all that travelling and sharing the driving in one day. When we drive from Holyhead to Brighton we do two overnights.

gmarie Mon 15-Jul-19 07:25:18

Anja, I think the problem is the length of time driving not the visit, itself. That's a l-o-n-g time to be on the road when you get up at 5:30 a.m., especially. Everyone thinks they can do it - until they can't.

Before I retired, I did home visits with students and families in my teaching capacity and, because some of my students lived hours away, I'd try to cram too many visits into a single day and end up driving home many hours later after dark. It only took ONE time of dozing off and snapping awake to see my car drifting into the next lane to make me change my ways.

It has less to do with age than with the mental impairment that gradually occurs as we become fatigued. People also drive after drinking a moderate amount thinking, "I can handle this" - until they can't - and they injure or kill someone else or themselves.

gmarie Mon 15-Jul-19 07:31:43

A quick Google search turned up a lot of info. including this:

Drowsy driving is dangerous because sleep deprivation can have similar effects on your body as drinking alcohol. Being awake for 18 hours straight makes you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .05 (for reference, .08 is considered drunk). If you’ve been awake for a full 24 hours and drive—say, after a night where you just couldn’t fall asleep—it’s like you have a blood alcohol level of .10.

gillybob Mon 15-Jul-19 07:37:29

Well for what it’s worth my DH is also 67 and regularly does long 4-5 hour drives with a whole days (physical) work in between followed by the return journey. Mind you he is used to very long days . Not saying it’s right, just saying.

Ellianne Mon 15-Jul-19 07:50:25

This was my husband until a few years ago but he doesn't do it anymore. I was trying to think back to what made him stop, and all I can say was that had nothing to do with my persuading him not to. He just realised it for himself. I think that's the only way forward in these sort of cases.

travelsafar Mon 15-Jul-19 08:01:22

Let the train take the strain.

Surely this would be quicker and less of a worry for you.