The old people at the wheel, the shouting match at the turn

These are evasive maneuvers. Car keys that are hidden, excuses to cancel a trip, awkward discussions. “What if I took the wheel? », suggested Olivier to his father, who did not say a word for the rest of the road while continuing to drive, in Nantes. Aurélie, 41, remembers the day her father, 86, wanted to drive alone to a Paris hospital after a stroke. He ran after her to retrieve the car keys she had confiscated from him. He hates that someone else takes the wheel… In Carantec, in Finistère, Anne remembers a game of cat and mouse with her father, when he was 85 years old. “He said, ‘I’m going to the bakery. We said: “It’s good, we have bread.” “I need to go to Morlaix.” We answered: “We can go there tomorrow”… He insisted because we could not simply tell him: “You must not drive”. » « It’s hard to say for yourself too, it’s one more step towards the loss of your parents as we knew them.testifies Catherine who, in Vienne (Isère), sought her words to say “I think you got lucky there”, after a final swerve from his father, whose car had climbed onto the sidewalk. Settled in an alpine village, Frédéric, a music teacher, took it badly that his son suggested that he move to town to no longer depend on his car, “As if our roles were reversed…”

To broach the subject of the behavior of elders is to expose oneself to frustration, anger… Between (grand) parents and (grand) children, but also among siblings. “My father lived to be 95. The last twenty years of his life, my sisters pestered him to stop driving when he had never had an accident and parked his car perfectly before he died…”gets angry Eva, septuagenarian, at the mention of the subject.

Fewer accidents than young people

And yet, let us beware of these stories: these are the ones we talk about but they are also the rarest, explains Sylvie Bonin-Guillaume, vice-president of the French Society of Geriatrics. These are often stories of men, too. Women, observes this member of the National Road Safety Council, stop more easily and sometimes even too quickly. “We don’t have to be harsh. In most cases, people stop driving spontaneously and for good reasons. » And as often when we talk about the subject, she reminds us that seniors cause fewer accidents than very young people. “You have to get out of received ideas like ‘he’s old, so he can’t drive anymore’. » We would do better, to listen to him, to talk about the risks associated with medical concerns… and it turns out that the oldest suffer more often from pathologies.

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