Gransnet forums


Should DH drive eight to nine hours in one day

(86 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?

maddyone Mon 15-Jul-19 23:49:21

oodles, I agree it’s dangerous, that’s why I’m worried. Firstly he refuses to use public transport, but in any case we wouldn’t use the train because plane is much more convenient from where we are. To use the train we have to go up to London first and then get the train to Manchester. This particular journey is not well served by trains, but by air it’s very convenient.

oodles Tue 16-Jul-19 00:18:07

maddyone, I wholly get why you're worried, just hoping that maybe something someone says might hit home to him\
If flying is better then fly up there and see your friend.
My parents are a similar distance north of London as Manchester is, and I'm an hour's drive north of London, so I know how much driving up there takes out of me, in fact so much that if I am going up for just a couple of days I'll not even consider driving.
Last year I decided to attend something over in Manchester from my parents', and I had to be up so early, to get the train, although not an easy journey; the day was fun but by the time I got back 15 hours later than I'd woken up I was absolutely shattered. And I didn't have to drive the train either lol!

Grannycool52 Tue 16-Jul-19 08:35:46

We have a longish drive to visit my mother. I used to do it on my own, there & back in the one day. Then we saw public service messages on telly, saying it was dangerous to drive more than 2 hours without a break because of the fatigue factor.
Now the two of us go, stop for coffee + swap drivers every two hours, and we visit mum, stay in a hotel overnight, relax over a good meal, and visit mum again the next day and drive home again. It works very well.

M0nica Tue 16-Jul-19 11:23:55

Last week DH had a micro-sleep on the motorway, we were in the inevitable rush-hour nose-to-tail stop start queue and no damage was done to anyone or any vehicle.

DH has been tired and sleepy recently so went to see his GP. What he didn't expect was his GP to immediately 'advise' him not to drive for the time being while it was investigated.

And this is the point maddyone, my DH is older than yours but still works part time, including driving to Belgium for meetings etc, so driving long distances is a regular occurrence, he does get tired more quickly than he did when driving but as a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, he is careful about this and has regular breaks and, when we are together we share the driving, but his micro-sleep caught him by surprise.

He was fortunate that it was a very slow speed shunt, no damage to anyone or any vehicle, but if your DH starts feeling tired on the long journey home after a long busy day (and he will) but insists on pushing himself on and has a micro-sleep, he could have it happen at 70mph in the outside lane and he could drift into the central barrier or the lorry he is overtaking.

Our daughter has a disabled right arm as the result of a road accident caused by another driver's momentary lack of attention, it wasn't a micro-sleep, but could have been.

Your DH needs to learn to scrap the machismo and be practical and consider the results to him and other people if he has an accident caused by tiredness.

justwokeup Tue 16-Jul-19 22:05:41

Some cars have seats which can sense when you are tired - and are surprisingly accurate. Maybe you can suggest he gets sensors to fit in his car, if that's possible, as he might feel better about it if the car 'tells' him that he is tired, rather than you. IMO, I think you are wise not to go with him; I think it might make things worse if you were there. He might be more stressed if you are in the car as he knows you are anxious. Also, as he seems unlikely to change his mind about doing all the journey in one day, it would then be both of you who would be in danger.

NotAGran55 Wed 17-Jul-19 06:32:38

There is obviously no answer unless one of you compromises . You could share the driving or he could agree to a stop-over .

Tedber Wed 17-Jul-19 17:01:55

Agree with NotAGran55 but you say your husband only sees his ageing parents 3 times a year? He doesn't want to stay over and make it longer than a dutiful visit? I take it they aren't close then?

I guess I am just thinking if I still had my parents in their nineties I would spend a lot more time with them?

As for the driving? I would be concerned but not a lot you can do really. My husband is 67 and thinks he is 27! He wouldn't be so adamant about not staying overnight somewhere though especially to see elderly relatives.

maddyone Thu 18-Jul-19 12:42:07

My husband goes on these one day visits about three times a year, but we do go together sometimes and stay for two or three days, when we can see other friends and relatives too. The last time we did that was March, when we went up to his brother and wife’s Ruby Wedding celebration. We have started to stay in a nearby Premier Inn as his mother is no longer able to cope with visitors staying in the house, hardly surprisingly as she is 92. He phones his parents regularly and spends about half an hour on the phone with them, this happens at least twice a week or more. He has three brothers who live near his parents and so he is lucky in that he knows that if they need help, his brothers are there. However, he helps enormously with my own mother, who now lives near to us and requires a lot of support. He organisers her utilities for her, sorts out all the official stuff for her, takes her to her many medical appointments if I can’t, is currently selling her car for her (thank goodness, she wasn’t fit to drive but insisted, but the police picked her up and it turned out her eyesight is too poor to drive, so she lost her license, which is a relief frankly) and so on. He would do the same for his parents if a) they would let him ie utilities, and b) if he was nearer.
The problem as I see it is nothing to do with how often or not he sees his elderly parents, but I feel it’s not safe to drive there and back in a day, and I worry about him, and I worry about other people. His parents clearly do not see any problem in him doing this.
Thank you for all your responses, I have told him about what has been said, and left him to think about it. I have also said yet again that I think we should go together and spend a couple of nights up there, he immediately said no, one night! I’m going to carry on with my suggestion of two nights. He also complained that I wouldn’t want to set off at 5.30 in the morning, and wouldn’t want to spend all that time with his parents (I absolutely would want to see my dear friend) so he thinks of reasons why I shouldn’t go, which leads me to think that actually he prefers to go alone, and doesn’t want me with him.

Iam64 Thu 18-Jul-19 19:44:29

maddyone, you've faced some critical comments here with equanimity.
The additional information you've given puts some of the negative comments in their place imo. The face your husband has three brothers living close to their parents must be reassuring for you two.
You may be right, your husband wants to stick to his present plans of a long drive, visit and long drive back. For what its worth, I'm with you, it's too long a day for someone of his age. If he's willing to go along with your suggestion of one overnight, grab that and hope that he'll begin to realise 24 hours of driving and visiting is not sensible.

maddyone Fri 19-Jul-19 19:05:47

Thank you Iam64.

Obviously I have all the knowledge of the background to the situation, and I only asked the question is it unreasonable for my husband to drive such distances in one day. My husband is a very good and caring son, a gem of a son in law, and a lovely Grandad and helpful Dad. Incidentally, he is a good husband too, and one I want to to hold on to, and the drives he does in his role as a caring son puts him into danger in my opinion, and could also endanger others. Yes, he can be stubborn, but an uncaring son he is not. Were he uncaring about his parents, he would not bother to go at all, and he would leave everything to his brothers, and there are many people like that around. His fault is that he does not see the danger, he has always been a positive and optimistic person, his glass is never half empty, it is always half full. But I want him to take better care of himself by recognising the possibility of an accident, and I certainly do not want him to be a danger to others. I have set in motion the possibility of us going together this time, and I hope we can cross this bridge together.