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Monday, 14 January 2019

When

It was the morning after a storm and the driveway was plowed. While my husband shovelled the walk, I left to do several errands that couldn’t wait. The roads were rough and icy from the freezing rain which had left a layer of ice under snow. I was cautious.


The main road was straight ahead and there were no vehicles on the road ahead of me. Suddenly a car pulled out of a side street on the driver’s side of my car, almost into my vehicle. I drive a compact. This one was a full size model which you don’t see much anymore. 


I reacted immediately, and swerved to the right, away from the other vehicle. Had I not, he would have severely damaged my car and injured me. The other driver did not react at all, just kept going. I hit the ice and after several tense moments slipping around, I stopped just short of a pile of snow near the end of a driveway. The other driver was gone.


I paused for a few moments to collect myself. It had been totally unexpected and shocking. I was lucky.


I saw the other vehicle at a nearby intersection afterwards. The driver was an elderly man, older than me. I thought of my mother as I waited for the light to change.


Mom, at 79 was diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm which couldn’t be repaired. She was still driving up to that point and after the unsuccessful surgery, the doctor said she couldn’t drive for six weeks. My brother and I were concerned about her driving at all with the aneurysm, a ticking time bomb, which would probably take her life quickly without much warning. We had to find a way to discuss it with her.


We didn’t have to worry though. Before she left the hospital, Mom told us she wasn’t going to drive any more despite what the doctor had said. She didn’t want to endanger any passengers, other drivers or pedestrians if the aneurysm should rupture while she was on the road.


I was with Mom when the aneurysm took her life quite suddenly. She would not have been able to control a car in those circumstances. The wonder is the doctor hadn’t said the same to her. Luckily she’d had the good judgement to know the difference and take herself off the road.


I hope as I age, I will, like my mother, know when it is time to hang up the car keys.

46 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I bet he didn't see you at all. Glad you weren't hurt!

DJan said...

I am also relieved that you are all right. The story about your mother shows she knew better than the doctor. I, too, hope I'll know when it's time to stop driving. We have a great bus system in our town, which makes it easier to stop using a car.

Jenn said...

Glad you are OK. I was just watching Brain Games yesterday and they tested an older person and a younger person on driving course, the older person had less peripheral views as well as slower reaction times. I am guess this older gentleman probably didn't even see you sadly. I hope he doesn't injure himself or anyone else. My grandma knew when it was time and ung up the keys, my grandpa was more stubborn.

Tabor said...

I find that all people who were injured by this storm were out driving. I have the luxury of being able to stay home and heavy winter weather is rare here, so most folks understand.

William Kendall said...

I'm glad that you're okay.

In some cases an older driver refuses to see that it's time to give up the car. Other times they're the ones who decide themselves. My dad decided to do so on his own- he felt that his reaction time as a driver was declining.

Joanne Noragon said...

May the dear old man continue to meet better drivers than he. Yes, I will turn in my keys when I am no longer capable of driving my car.

Elephant's Child said...

I hope that the older gentleman doesn't hurt himself or anyone else. I am so glad that you are ok (shaken but unstirred?). And wish that more people were as wise as your mother.

Celia said...

So glad you are safe. I hope I'm able to recognize when my driving days are done. Then there's my sons saying they'll hide the car keys and the car if necessary. I worry too much.

bill burke said...

Glad you are ok and not hurt. A very good lesson in your story for people to read and think about.

Barbara said...

That very subject has been on my mind. Usually I drive a couple of blocks or at most, a couple of miles. When I had to drive 45 minutes to my son's house last week I realized how bad my eyesight was because of the cataracts. I have told my son I cannot drive out there anymore and considered whether I was safe to drive in the neighborhood. Since my problem is not a matter of eminent death, I think I am ok with foggy vision but really should I risk it. Cataract surgery is not until spring or summer I think. I'm glad you posted this because I need to be on alert not to drive if I think I will be a threat.

Catarina said...

That was a scary moment!
I am glad you did not suffer any physical harm.

Debbie said...

so scary indeed, thank goodness it ended the way it did, it could have ended very badly!!

i don't drive and if we have to go out during bad weather, we take the hubs truck. it's a heavy duty work truck!!

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Thank goodness you weren't hurt Marie but what a dreadful fright it must have been. Yes, we will all hopefully know when it is time to stop driving. How awful for your family knowing there wasn't anything to be done to help your mum, she was a brave lady, as hard as it must have been I'm glad you were with your mum xox

Anvilcloud said...

Glad you escaped that situation intact.
That other fellow should probably hang up the keys as well.

Shammickite said...

I try to be aware every day that when I am behind the wheel that I am controlling a huge heavy piece of metal that can do an awful lot of damage if I'm not careful. I hope I'll be able to know when I shouldn't do it any more. So glad you are OK. A very scary almost-accident.

Barb said...

I can tell that my reflexes are slower now, and I rarely drive after dark. I think the elderly worry about loss of freedom when they can no longer drive. I hope I can recognize when i'm a danger to myself and others. Good that you and your car weren't damaged!

Rhodesia said...

So scary. Some months back driving home in the dark after dinner with friends, a van came round a corner and side swiped us removing the side mirror. He just kept going and disappered into the night. It really frightend me as it was my night for driving having had nothing to drink. My FIL hung up his keys a number of years ago and yes I agree I hope I know the right time to do it as well. Take care Diane

jenny_o said...

Very frightening to have such a close call, Marie. I'm so glad you were not hurt and your car was undamaged. It's is so hard for a life-long driver to lose their freedom to get around. My hat is off to your mom for recognizing the possibility of danger and making the decision herself not to drive. My mother doesn't drive if she isn't feeling a hundred percent, but I suspect it's going to take a close call - or worse - to get her to give up her car. She could take taxis everywhere for the cost of vehicle upkeep and gas, but won't even discuss it.

It was lucky that you were with your mom when she passed. I'm sure it is a comfort to know she did not die alone. It must have been difficult not to know when it might happen, though.

Andrea said...

Your mother was a smart lady! Sorry for your loss. You were very fortunate to not get hit. I always say...we know how to drive well...but how about the other drivers on the road. Many are not cautious. Most people here have large cars and all-wheel drive. We have one of each. I like to be safe in a larger vehicle as my mom died in a car accident in a small car (a few decades ago). My husband likes to save on gas....so we try to compromise. Andrea

Laurel Wood said...

So thankful you were not hurt. Your precious mother made a decision that made life easier for you even though I know she missed driving. I have had 4 family members who had to quit driving due to medical reasons. I am thankful every day that I can still drive but hope that I "retire" gracefully when the time comes.

Marie Smith said...

I doubt he saw me, Debra.

Marie Smith said...

You are fortunate to have such a great bus system, Jan. Ours isn’t so good.

Marie Smith said...

Good point about the peripheral vision, Jenn. I doubt he saw me.

Marie Smith said...

I usually don’t venture out so soon after a storm, Tabor.

Marie Smith said...

Your dad was wise, William.

Marie Smith said...

I only wish him well, Joanne.

Marie Smith said...

My mother was quite a woman, EC.

Marie Smith said...

Families worry about us on the roads. My brother always saw my mother driving around town. It was harder for him than for me since I didn’t see her on the roads when she was driving.

Marie Smith said...

It is a decision every elderly driver must consider for sure, Bill.

Marie Smith said...

I hope you will get you wheels back after the surgery, Barbara.

Marie Smith said...

It was a surreal experience, Catarina.

Marie Smith said...

I am rarely out on bad roads, Debbie and will probably be out less so now.

Marie Smith said...

It was the hardest thing I ever did to hold my mother as she died from the aneurysm. It took many months for me not to relive that experience everyday. Through it all, I was glad to have been there and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

I did get a glimpse of what PTSD is like though.

Marie Smith said...

I don’t know about him, I just wish him well, AC.

Marie Smith said...

Living in the moment when we are driving is so important, Shammi.

Marie Smith said...

The loss of freedom and independence is a big thing for seniors for sure, Barb. I don’t drive much after dark now either, certainly not long distances.

Marie Smith said...

I am glad yoir accident was no worse than it was Diane. It was scary enough with a near miss. I would not want to be side swiped.

Marie Smith said...

I was glad to have been with my mom when she died but it was a traumatic experience, Jenny.

My mother was nervous with taxis but she found the drivers were good to her and she learned to be ok with them.

Marie Smith said...

We gave up our second car when we retired years ago, Andrea. We don’t miss the second vehicle at all now. The small car serves our purposes and we don’t go anywhere during storms.

Marie Smith said...

Mom really missed the independence and freedom which came with driving for sure, Laurel. She knew what she had to do though.

Mage said...

I wish you could have said something to that older gentleman that almost got you. I'm so glad he didn't. Your mom saw it right. My grandfather didn't and killed a small child. I know I am on my last five years of driving.

The Happy Whisk said...

Just came from your last post and now reading this. You really do well with words and sharing. I'm sorry your mom is gone. She sounds like she was a smart cookie and thoughtful as well. I have no doubt you are from that same tree.

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

So thankful that this all ended well Marie, and for the life lesson that you shared. How amazing that your mother realized she didn't need to drive in her condition. I've family members who have been quite stubborn in their determination to keep driving, and only the grace of the Lord has kept them from hurting others. It is hard to tell someone to stop driving when they still have all the faculties. May we all take this as a lesson to heart, and put up the keys, when the time comes to do so. Losing your independence is a very tough thing though. Blessings :)

Marie Smith said...

I’m sure your grandfather didn’t set out to kill a child. Such a tragedy. May we all know when it’s time to hang up the keys, Mage.

Marie Smith said...

My mom was a great example of how to live, HW.

Marie Smith said...

Sometimes we have to rely on doctors to do the job of taking the license from people, Marilyn.