Driving advice!!

Jane1

Registered User
Mar 3, 2007
54
Leicestershire
Last Friday Dad saw his GP as an emergency appointment as the driving issue has become huge. Dad went with all hope of the nice doctor telling him he would be able to drive and that we were all wrong. Alas he gently told him that because of his memory and concentration problems he wouldn't be allowed to drive. This is a massive blow to Dad and yesterday after a rage and torrent of abuse to mum he took the car out of the garage and was out for 15 mins, we think he may have lost his nerve and come back. Today after another rage etc, he went wandering to his garage mechanic, about 3 miles away and he gave him a lift home! We are at our wits end, his keys are stuck to him like glue and i know this seems like the obvious thing to do but doing it is another thing. Any comments or advice are welcome...... thanks
ps. The nice doctor is now on the bad person list!!!!
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
if you can get the keys away from him, you're going to have to disable the car somehow. If you can't get into the engine without the keys, what about puncturing 2 tyres? Drastic I Know, but drastic times call for drastic measures.

Jennifer'
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
70,383
Kent
The only other thing is to phone Swansea DVLA or tell the GP he is refusing to listen to advice and the GP will notify Swansea.
It`s a dreadful thing to have to do, you will find many posts about driving, it crops up all the time, describing the same anger and resentment. But whatever happens, nothing is worse than the possibility of an accident.
 

blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
270
England
Hi Jane
I do sympathise with this situation - many of us have been through the same difficulties! I think you will find there have been many previous posts on the topic that you can look up but here are some points that might be helpful.

First of all it is unlikely that your dad will ever publicly accept he shouldn't be driving, though his behaviour suggests he has some fears he doesn't want to acknowledge about his capabilities. I would depersonalise it and just keep saying that the DVLC will not let him drive while he is on current medication and that if he does he will be breaking the law and could be arrested. Make DVLC the enemy, not you! If necessary you might even have to alert the GP and/or police if he will not comply as you cannot risk him having an accident, for his own sake and others. Perhaps your community police officer or GP could help by making a visit to him to explain this? If no-on else drives the car I would get the mechanic to take it to the garage, on pretext it needs a service, and then arrange somewhere to store it until you feel you can take the decision to sell it. Obviously if it's a family car driven by others this won't work!

There are many situations where you can fudge things, but this isn't one of them as people's safety is at risk every time your dad gets in the car. Accepting that means you have to find a way to resolve the situation but don't take all the burden on yourself - enlist help form medical, social or legal services if necessary. Good luck!

blue sea
 

cris

Registered User
Aug 23, 2006
326
70
Chelmsford
Hi. If your father cannot accept that his driving may endanger his life and others then you have to disable the car. Leave the lights on full overnight or something that will discharge the battery. Or ask the nice mechanic to (discreetly) remove a fuse on the starting circuit - something like that. Whatever you do, your father will point the finger at those around him. It is hard but if no one stops him and he hurts someone then you may be blaming yourselves.
cris
 
Last edited:

bel

Registered User
Apr 26, 2006
757
coventry
driving

dear j
i have gone through this problem with my hubby and still am
2 years ago i wrote to dvla without him knowing cos i knew although he would argue he was ok he was not safe it is so hard for you i know
since they took hubbys lisence away i will not let him drive
but like a fool to save him feeling too bad i have let him bring car out of garage in morning and back at night he has done so much damage it is unreal
you not matter how hard it is need to stop him driving
if you need any help with it --give me a shout love bel
 

toby12

Registered User
Jan 26, 2007
9
Surrey
Eyesight

After my Dad went round a mini roundabout the wrong way (This was early on just after he was diagnosed), he had to go for an eye test. I got the optician to tell him, firmly, that he could not drive because of his eyesight. Yes it was a white lie (though actually not that far from the truth!), and it preserved Dad's dignity.

We sold the car the next day. It's a horrible marker point in this disease for many. That has to be weighed up against injury or death to either himself or others.

As others have said, disabling the car is probably the safest option.

Best wishes
Toby.
 

Helena

Registered User
May 24, 2006
715
Call the Police tell them he refuses to listen to the GP

they will frighten him into giving up the keys
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
70,383
Kent
Dear Helena,
Do we really want confused and agitated dementia sufferers to be frightened by the police.

When my mother was living by herself and getting lost and having trouble finding her way, her first port of call were the Police.

If my husband were out by himself and became confused, that would be where he`d go for help too.

I think there are other very effective ways of stopping people driving other than frightening them, they are frightened enough already.
 

Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
Grannie G said:
I think there are other very effective ways of stopping people driving other than frightening them, they are frightened enough already.

With you on that one, Sylvia. The world of dementia is frightening enough. Adding to that fright and confusion would be sheer cruelty, IMHO.
 

Nebiroth

Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
3,511
Unfortunately you may have to take drastic action. This could take the form of disabling the car in some fashion, but in the long run it will have to be something more permanent.

As has been said, one approach may be to discreetly involve the DVLA. Make the "authorities" the enemy, not yourself.

Eventually, it will be down to the hard cold fact that your Dad will have his liscense to drive revoked due to a medical condition and that if he continues to drive he will be breaking the law.

Eventually this could involve a "friendly chat" with someone from the Police who will explain that he will be breaking the law if he drives, which could lead either to his being arrested or having the car impounded. It may be that being told in no uncertain terms by what your Dad regards as an "authority figure" that he has no choice in the matter will do the trick.

Unfortunately (as we have found ourselves) sometimes people with dementia will behave like a rebellious child who will "misbehave" for as long as they fell they can get away with it, which will continue until they are faced with someone like a stern headmistress! Your Dad will probably take no notice of his immediate family. "I am right and you are wrong and I will do what I want"

Of course this is a final resort and yes, we should always avoid frightening and distressing loved ones with dementia, but sadly sometimes this sort of thing has to be done as the consequences of letting things go on could be much worse.

I can't help but wonder if your doctor won't be duty-bound to inform the DVLA that one of his patients is now unfit to drive?
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
Nebiroth said:
I can't help but wonder if your doctor won't be duty-bound to inform the DVLA that one of his patients is now unfit to drive?
There was another thread about driving recently that impelled me to go to the DVLA site, and yes, the GMC have made it clear that if a doctor who has told a patient they cannot drive discovers that they are driving, they have a duty to inform the medical examiners at the DVLA. They need to inform the patient that they are going to, but they do not need consent. It does seem though that some doctors won't do this because they misunderstand the scope of data protection, or in some cases I suspect, don't want to get involved.

Jennifer
 

blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
270
England
I'm sure no-one gets to the stage of involving the authorities unless they have tried every other option. I totally agree that no person with dementia should be put in a situation where someone frightens them. My own experience with doctors, social workers and the police is that they were all very sensitive and respectful in the way they dealt with my father, who at times became very challenging in his behaviour because of vascular dementia. Perhaps I was lucky but I really could not fault the way they spoke to dad to try to help some difficult situations. He did take much more note of an authority figure than us as a family, It might be an option for Jennifer to consider. It is a really difficult situation to deal with, when the illness causes someone to behave in way that can threaten the lives of others, as driving a car when medically unfit can do.

Good luck, Jennifer. There are never easy answers I'm afraid, you just have to do your best, based on your own knowledge of your father and what might work for him.
Blue sea
 

sunny

Registered User
Sep 1, 2006
598
disable the car

STOP HIM DRIVING. HE WILL KILL SOMEBODY ELSE! Disable the car. He will never see sense. It is the only way.
 

Jane1

Registered User
Mar 3, 2007
54
Leicestershire
Thanks

wow thanks for all your replys, even the hard hitting ones!! I'm phoning DVLA tomorrow and yes it will be hard but i know i have to do it and yes i do think the doctor has ducked out! I will also take his keys away this week. This is a massive loss for my dad but will be made no easier or harder the longer we diliberate on how to do it. He only understands that people are telling him he can't do something he has done all his life and to him it's that simple. I take your comments on board that you have given me from your experiences and am glad you are there to talk to because you all understand.....
 

mocha

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
176
85
Lancs, England
Dear Jane1,
Whatever you don't leave the car sitting on the drive or in the garage.
Get rid right away unless your mother drives.
When we had to give up the car my daughter bought it and Ron was quite happy to go out with her although he quite often walked round to the driver's side.
Iin the end he took the loss better than I expected.
Good Luck
Aileen
 

Scoop

Registered User
Nov 20, 2006
99
Just been through this ourselves. My dad has accepted it for now - thinks it maybe different after the brain scan but I do think that deep down he knows he won't drive again.

The approach I took was that because the Dr has said he can't drive the DVLA won't let him and as such he won't be insured. The financial consequences too of having a relatively small bump without insurance really don't bear thinking about.

Good luck, I know come brain scan time we are going to have a few issues again.

My dad doesn't like my Mum's driving and any mistake ( Hitting kerbs etc ) gets extreme reactions from him, although he had battered the car quite a bit in the last few months of driving but can't remember.
 

Ashburton

Registered User
Feb 19, 2007
99
Thankfully this was a quite painless issue for us which was quite surprising as my mum absolutely loved to drive, she has stopped driving about a year now, I think you need to have 100% concentration for driving and it was starting to get to the stage where my mum would drive in 2nd gear all the time, so I knew it was time for her to stop, so I took up driving myself at the time, as I am constantly with my mum, I just asked her could I drive for the practice and it worked out fine.