Wednesday, August 24, 2011
THE GUARDIAN made one of my infrequent trips to Boise Tuesday of this week and there was a terrible back up of traffic near the Franklin on ramp of I-84 on the east bound side of the freeway. The cause of the back up of all the traffic was an elderly driver who failed to merge into freeway traffic and had slammed on the brakes. He had traffic backed up for several hundred feet in the construction zone as well as the entire length of the Franklin on ramp.
We struggled with the point in time our departed father should give up driving as a family after he blacked out behind the wheel and ran a bicyclist off the road and nearly took out a pedestrian on the sidewalk. Doctors are reluctant to turn in nearly blind or otherwise medically incompetent elderly drivers, family members hate trying to get mom or dad to hang up the keys. But this week gave me a clear understanding of when the elderly should park the car. The on ramp merge test failure is about one of the best tests I can think of to test the capability of elderly drivers.
The elderly guy in the traffic jam on the freeway could not figure out how to merge with freeway traffic and nearly caused a chain reaction series of accidents with his decision to hit the brakes instead of merging into freeway traffic. Very few of us have not run into this at one time or another and it is not always the elderly who hit the brakes instead of merging. I would lump these folks into a group that need a remedial driver training course. They are a danger to themselves as well as other drivers.
This sad situation got fixed when a freeway driver stopped and let the old guy and several others merge onto the freeway. Fact remains, it should have never happened and it is time for the old guy to hang up the car keys.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 3:00 PM