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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 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.

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 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.

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.

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 .

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.

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.

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.

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!

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 Mon 15-Jul-19 23:42:38

Listen to what the former HGV driver has said. If it is dangerous for a professional driver to be driving over such a long period without sleep it's dangerous for your DH. It's not the distance particularly, it wouldn't be a problem if he did it in a shorter period although you should take a break every couple of hours which it doesn't sound like he's doing, maybe he is, we don't know. You get signs on the motorway saying how tiredness kills. If he sets off at 5,30 he's going to have been up for a while getting his breakfast and getting dressed so he's going to have been awake longer.
The Great Heck train crash was caused by a driver who had been up all night, who seems to have wholly lost concentration if he didn't fall asleep. He was imprisoned for causing death by dangerous driving. OK, he drove onto a railway, and most of the deaths were caused by the subsequent train crash caused by his landrover being on the line, but it could have been other cars, if the motorway is busy it could cause a multicar pile up. If off the motorway he could career into a pedestrian.
Someone who falls asleep or just loses concentration for a minute due to tiredness could wipe any of us out if we were in the wrong place
If I were you I'd not want to go in the car with him TBH. For the birthday why not get a railcard and go on the train, look up how to split tickets, so you can find the cheapest way to do it. Stay and visit your old friend and have a bit of a relaxing break.
If he doesn't want to be with his parents for more than the day, he doesn't have to go home that night, he could leave same time, and do the first bit of the journey and come off at the cheapest Travelodge, and have an early night, and set the alarm and get a good night's sleep and set off early in the morning and be back home by time to go to work or do whatever he is fretting about. Same outcome, but much safer. And better for his health, it can't be good for anyone to do that at any age, but much worse as he gets older.

maddyone Mon 15-Jul-19 23:32:57

cpwle, I’m so sorry to hear about your accident. It is exactly because of the possibility of something like this happening that I worry.

maddyone Mon 15-Jul-19 23:30:50

Well thank you again for all your responses, I totally agree with those of you who have said he shouldn’t be driving this far in one day, obviously that’s why I worry. I also understand those of you who have said that you or your partners do drive this far in a day. The trouble is, as I said, he simply won’t listen to any of my suggestions or requests with regard to this. He knows I worry, he knows all the arguments because he’s heard them all before from me. His parents are always delighted to see him, and apparently have no concerns about him driving this far in a day. His father still drives and he’s 92. FiL only stopped driving down the country to see us, admittedly coming for a few days, when my husband refused to invite them as he considered them too old to drive that distance. That was about five and a half years ago so his father must have been around 86/87 then, so with that example I suppose he thinks he’s got many more years of driving left to him, which I sincerely hope he has, just not driving up and down the country in one day.
I worry about him, I worry about other people, and I worry about me if he has an accident. I’ve never told his family I worry, maybe I should, but it would have to be his brothers, because his parents simply can’t see any danger in it. They would nod and agree but never then suggest to him it might be dangerous.
For now, I think I’m going to push the idea of us going together this time, and of us staying over. There’s a brand new Premier Inn nearby which is very acceptable, and it doesn’t cost very much to stay there. We do actually go up from time to time anyway to visit family and friends, we were last there in March to celebrate his brother’s Ruby Wedding, it’s just that he still wants to do these day visits as well. He’s very independent (stubborn) and hates being told what to do. I think that as much as anything is what makes him resistant to my suggestions. He thinks his family is his affair and I shouldn’t say anything about it. He has in the past even accused me of wanting to stop him visiting his family which is totally untrue, particularly as he does so very much to help my own mother.
Thanks again ladies and gents, at least I know I’m not being unreasonable.

cpwle Mon 15-Jul-19 20:47:01

Hi my husband fell asleep at the wheel of our car and hit another car head on at 70mph. The three of us in our car were seriously injured and are living with the consequences of this 3 years on. Fortunately the people in the other car suffered minor injuries but it could have been so much worse. It is utterly selfish to drive this distance in a day. No matter how good a driver he is he is putting himself and others at risk. Please ask him to consider how he would feel if he caused an accident and people were seriously injured or killed. It simply isn't worth it. I hope he will reconsider.

AlisonKF Mon 15-Jul-19 20:24:34

I was obliged to give up driving three years ago at 79. Although I am cut off from so many things, I reflect that I would still rather be alive if the roads are full of irrational people driving well beyond the legal hours for professionals. Af 67, doing what these men insist is fine is a kind of vanity. Before giving up I drove all over the UK and Ireland but stopped every two and a half hours and never drove more than 250 miles in a day. This is common sense on the jam packed motorways of today.

Chinesecrested Mon 15-Jul-19 18:33:16

You could go with him? Say you can't do the double journey in in one day and you'll have to stay over, either at their house or at a Premier Inn or similar. Either he stays with you or you'd have to get the train next day. He won't want that.

Camelotclub Mon 15-Jul-19 18:02:27

Truck drivers wouldn't be allowed to do that! On the other hand, it's not often and he's only 67. My DH is 71 and I wouldn't be too worried about such a journey if it was only occasionally. He'll do what he wants to do.

SisterAct Mon 15-Jul-19 17:49:53

As Ellianne says you have made your point and only he can decide now if he was doing it in a few years more questions could be asked. Personally I think it’s too much for anyone as said above professional drivers aren’t allowed.

Another thought for me is why won’t he stay over if only going to see his parents 3 times a year surely they would like to see him for longer and do you get to see
them ?

Jane10 Mon 15-Jul-19 17:19:20

It's a bit insulting to his parents that he can't be bothered to stay any length of time with them.

eazybee Mon 15-Jul-19 17:05:28

Sorry, but I don't think your husband will compromise in any way and will continue to insist on making these almost pointless journeys to massage his ego.
He won't train or plane, can't travel with you driving, won't stay overnight, won't stay for two nights so you can see family members, and won't accept that in any way he will become a road hazard.
As someone else said, he may well cause an accident and inflict damage, or worse, on other people.
Is he this pig-headed about other things?

Granfran Mon 15-Jul-19 16:21:39

Does he have a twin?😂 Sounds identical to my DH. Good luck 💐

debbiemon123 Mon 15-Jul-19 14:55:58

my parents live 250 miles from me ( takes 6 hours usually .....they live in Norfolk 😳😳) , and are 88 and 86 . I am 59 and cannot understand why you would want to drive to see your parents and back in one day .... unless in an emergency. I drive to see them and stay at least 3 days . Or I get the train . Why put yourself through such stress is dangerous, even if you love driving .

leyla Mon 15-Jul-19 14:46:29

You are right to be concerned. It is inappropriate for anyone to do all that in one day. His insistence is selfish as it's quite possibly not only him that would be killed if he lost concentration at the wheel.

Norah Mon 15-Jul-19 14:35:12

We do, often. Down to the ability of the driver and their sleep habits.

Legs55 Mon 15-Jul-19 13:54:47

Mcrc I disagree with you, I visit my DM about twice a year, 300 miles each way. My DM is 90 & I'm 63, I'm used to driving distances but the first time I did the journey after DH died I stopped half way overnight as I was unsure about doing the journey in one hit on my own even though I had often done all the driving with DH as a passenger.

Since then I have made the journey with quick stops in one go BUT I stay a few days. I couldn't drive there & back without some recovery time & I would share your OP's concerns. I have to drive as I need the car to get around, DM lives in a village with no shops or bus service. I would prefer to go by train but it's not practical now DM doesn't drive (she sold her car a few years ago).

Tiredness kills. OP is right to be concerned.