Saturday, November 20, 2010


I sold my Chrysler Alpine in 1998, and have not driven since. I still hold a valid driving license, in case I ever decide to get behind the wheels again.

My friends often wonder how I get around. Well, I'm fortunate to have lots of friends who drive. So there's no shortage of rides. But mostly I rely on public transport to take me where I want to go.

As each year passes, I feel less inclined to drive. I've gotten so used to being a passenger. I'm told that driving is a breeze now - no more changing of gears and with the GPS, no more worries about getting lost.

It's been 12 years since I last drove. The roads have changed, and cars have gone high tech. I sit in my son-in-law's BMW and I'm confused by all the gadgets and buttons. Will I ever be confident enough to start driving again? Would I be a danger to myself and to other road-users? My uncle is 77 and he still drives, rather well too, I must add. The other day I met an 83-year old lady who proudly told me she drives herself and her husband everywhere! 

Is there a maximum age limit for drivers here? How safe are elderly drivers? At aged 70+, how good is their eyesight, their hearing? How quick are their reflexes? How fast can they react in an emergency? What about those with early signs of Parkinson's or Alzheimer's?

Are there any restrictions placed on older drivers above 75? Do they have to take a road test and a medical examination before they can renew their license? Apparently, in Malaysia, anyone with a valid driving license is free to drive for as long as he feels he is competent enough to do so. Age is not an issue. He is his own judge.

For those who have been driving practically all their lives, would they be able to survive urban living without their own wheels? Public transport is an anathema for them. They are likely to continue renewing their driving license as they move into their 80s and even 90s, never mind that they may not be fit to drive, or may be a hazard to others on the road.

Scary thought.

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