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Giving Up Driving

I touched on this topic a little in my article “How Expensive Is That Minivan.” I drove without any driving adaptations for 24 years.

Driving gave me freedom, an opportunity to feel “normal.” I have always been a really social person. I was never a homebody.

Losing strength with age

I was losing strength throughout my 20’s where I needed to use a scooter and would need help getting up from a seat. I never felt any issues behind the wheel though.

I was able to drive for long distances too. I made a few trips where I was driving for 12+ hours in one day.

After I turned 30 I started having small issues while driving. I found it more frustrating and sometimes I felt like I was exerting more energy than I had in the past.

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Becoming more cautious about driving

I still didn’t feel unsafe though. Around the age of 33, I had a few “close calls.” I really started changing my driving style. I became very cautious giving myself extra space between me and the car in front of me.

Also around this time, I was having a lot of difficulty with my arm strength. Turning the wheel to make a right or left turn became a real struggle.

I started planning my routes where I would drive on more rural roads with less traffic. I knew in the back of my mind that my driving days were numbered. However, I wasn’t ready to lose this freedom altogether.

My last long drive that I took

I still remember the last long drive I took. I was 36 and I met my friends at a Phillies game. The stadium was about an hour away. This was a day game.

I had some trouble driving down to the ballpark. I actually pulled over a few times to rest.

I had to get on a few interstate highways. This gave me a lot of anxiety. I really felt unsafe. I was also wondering how I would make the drive home.

The game was over right around rush hour. Rush hour in Philadelphia can usually mean a standstill. I was actually happy about this.

Being able to crawl along the interstate at slow speeds felt safer for me. I actually got behind a driver who was having car issues and had their blinkers on. This was great, slow, and steady.

I actually didn’t make it home that evening. I hit a wall and had to call my parents to come to pick me up.

Driving became much more difficult

After that event, I only drove close to my house. Over the next 4 years, driving was becoming much more difficult. There were more “close calls.”

I would never drive with someone else in the car. Finally, the fear of hurting or God forbid killing someone got to me.

I knew it was time. It was too dangerous for other drivers and myself.

I miss the freedom and independence

Obviously, I miss the independence and freedom that driving gave me. I hope one day I can afford an adapted electric driving system.

Until then I have learned to accept these circumstances. I am lucky that I have my girlfriend to take me where I need to go.

Has anyone else given up driving? How have you adjusted?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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