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Elderly Driver Halts Train and Traffic

Updated on December 19, 2009

Mr Magoo Opening Theme


I grew up watching Mr. Magoo. That funny little old guy with eyes shut and coke bottom glasses, he always managed to run over something while driving to and from. If he would have had a real life elderly driver companion it could have easily been my mother in law.

Elderly driving issues can be a little sensitive to talk about. We don’t want to hurt our elderly parents or grandparents feelings by stripping them of their driving privilege or make them dependent on others for transportation. Neither do we want to get run over or put in harms way by elderly drivers. Maintaining their drivers license equals freedom and independence. Although they’ve been enjoying this privilege their whole lives, there comes a time when that privilege should be surrendered. When elderly drivers reach the age that eyesight and normal reflexes have slowed down, someone should say and do something. It is time to either voluntarily hang up the keys and sell the car or as responsible children insist that our parents do. It shouldn’t take an accident or the halting of a train to decide maybe they shouldn’t be driving anymore. As extreme as the train example sounds, it is a true story.

Granny and her Backseat Driver
Granny and her Backseat Driver
I hope I don't have to Slam on the breaks today.
I hope I don't have to Slam on the breaks today.


Several years ago I remember waking up to an early morning phone call. My husband rolled over in bed and picked it up. The caller was his brother and urged him to get up and tune in to the local news channel. Last time we got a call that urgent was on 9.11.2001. So, he immediately sprang out of bed managing not to trip over our two toy poodles that slept on the floor in our bedroom and scurried to the living room fumbling to find the remote to turn on the TV. From his brothers tone he knew it was important.

The news anchor was covering live an elderly woman driving her car on the train tracks. This older lady had managed to halt a Miami Train while driving herself to a doctors appointment. In doing so she had backed up traffic for miles during morning rush hour. Apparently confused while driving the elderly woman turned onto the train tracks and drove a ways before coming on to what she described as a huge blinding light. When she could no longer see she was forced to stop. The vigilant conductor fortunately saw the vehicle ahead and managed to stop the train 10 feet away from her car. What they didn’t disclose was whom the driver was. Imagine our shock to find out Mrs. Magoo as she is now known affectionately was my mother in law.

The police are called to investigate , a tow truck dispatched to remove the vehicle from the train tracks, and a crew checks for damage to the tracks. In the meantime Traffic in Miami during the most inconvenient time, morning rush hour is halted for hours.

The American Geriatrics Society reports that driving skills generally start to fade after age 75 (and sometimes as early as age 60). A recent study published in the Journal of Gerontology found that the number of severe crashes, driver fatalities, and pedestrian fatalities per mile traveled increases sharply once a driver becomes 65 years old.

Others that Shouldn't be Driving

Angry Drivers
Angry Drivers
People Multi-tasking
People Multi-tasking


My mother in law has been divorced for 22 years and has lived alone all this time. She has managed to drive herself , run errands and be punctual to all her appointments. The only thing is she is a creature of habit. She has never worked outside the home and doesn’t speak English. Sweet lady but if you ask her offspring they will tell you she does what she is trained to do. Cannot think outside the box, never has, never will. Coming upon a detour ... She did just that... Detoured right on to the train tracks.


I had been putting off writing this hub as I imagine some may be offended for what might be misconstrued as poking fun of elderly drivers. Mind you 66 is not that elderly in my book. I love my mother -in- law and I mean no disrespect . She’s a funny and totally dysfunctional lady. I have laughed more at her antics than I can ever explain here.

One other quick example would be her side swiping a truck and continuing driving. Well this other driver follows her home and calls the police. Upon questioning why she hadn’t stopped she responded , “I didn’t stop because I did not know the driver.” What ? !

Too Funny


    It took an incident like this to finally take my mother in laws car away. Something I had been privately discussing with my husband as this was not the only incident or clue that she should no longer be driving. Her visibility and reflexes had obviously deteriorated.

As sad as it is to take someone’s right to drive away, we all have to look at ourselves and our own parents and decide when enough time on the road is enough. There are some elderly drivers that are physically and mentally sharp enough to continue to drive but other cute little old Magoos out there are NOT. Everyone ages differently and while a 60 year old may be substantially sick and on medication which might dangerously slow down their motor skills, a 70 year old might be perfectly healthy to still operate a vehicle.

Remember to keep an eye on your elderly relatives. And if you see the elderly on the road at least be judicious and courteous and give them the right of way.


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    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 7 years ago

      Train Track

      That's exactly what I'm talking about. Noone willingly wants to relinquish the independence driving brings. Glad Uncle listened to you and saved himself and others from a potential unnecessary accident. Thnaks for topping by. Appreciate your story.

    • profile image

      Train Track 7 years ago

      Very funny story, glad it had a happy ending though! I think your right about taking responsibility. I have an old uncle who has what could be described as a very bad case of the shakes. He can barely hold a drink without spilling a good part of the liquid. Until recently he has been driving his car around but we had to tell him we thought it might be a good idea to quit as his acceleration and braking was somewhat jerky and we really had become concerned about the possible consequences for himself and others on the road. He agreed to give up driving, reluctantly!

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago


      What a great idea! That way we can identify them a mile away and stay clear. Are they working on the "T" for teens?

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      This is one funny story that turned out well in the end and some of the comments are funny as well. Just to add something to the discussion, there is a move in my state here to bring in the "S" plate for Seniors to display on their windscreens. How about that?

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      Ann Nonymous -

      Oh dear ! What a scary thought being driven by someone asleep at the wheel. I'll ride with Mr Magoo anytime!

      Thanks for our comment.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 8 years ago from Virginia

      It's definitely an entertaining story for those of us who are not involved!!!! Several years ago I had the privilege of riding in the backseat of car as an elderly man drove, his wife happily sitting beside him. After several times swerving this way and that I realized it was not his humor that was controlling the wheel...Nothing was! He kept falling asleep! I was so scared but didn't have my license, what to do? I had to ride with him, oh maybe three more times after that, always on edge and always in duress. A couple weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare where he was behind the wheel! Ah, the joys of driving and riding with the elderly! Excellent hub!

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago


      Thank you for reading. I'm glad you found it humorous. I like to find the "funny" in everything ")

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      lctodd1947 8 years ago from USA

      Funny and so true in so many instances. Great writing

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago


      Just like Mr Magoo, this lady has more lives than a Cat! Thanks for stopping in and reading.

    • Chloe Comfort profile image

      Chloe Comfort 8 years ago from Long Island

      OMG - what a story - lol! I can just imagine it. Thank goodness the conductor saw her and she wasn't hurt.

      BTW - I also grew up watching Mr. Magoo. He was a hoot!!

      Kudos :-)

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago


      Glad you enjoyed this hub. It was fun to put together. Not everyone gets as lucky as she did.

    • jimcain207 profile image

      jimcain207 8 years ago from HUMPHREY, ARKANSAS

      wow--glad everything turned out okay. Never heard of a train stopping in time....and only 10 ft to spare!!and to think she is only 8 years than I am. Great hub.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago


      Glad you found this hub and Mr. Magoo entertaining. He is quite a character! I appreciate your comment, Thank You.

    • KeithTax profile image

      Keith Schroeder 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Excellent article. Funny and entertaining. And to think, I'm not the only Magoo fan.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago


      Thanks for stopping in and for the blessings, I take all that I can get. Happy Holidays!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

      Hi Bail, I came to greet you and your family, Blessings for the holidays and thanks for the chance of knowing you here at HP< Maita

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago


      You have to give your dad an "A" for effort though, he certainly tried to put that pedal to the metal. Incredible how our parents are still trying us, they are paying us back!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      You're mother-in-law is one tough cookie. My father is 72 and drives faster than me! A few times, he asked to borrow my Honda Prelude for a spin because he misses driving stick. My response was, "Dad, maybe when you're older." :D

      Thanks for sharing this story. I guess your mother-in-law finally got her 15-minutes of fame!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      The car is still in the garage, but I can't remember the last time he's driven. It's been at least a couple of years to be sure. Ironically it's also the same car he drove to my high school graduation, and graduated nearly 20 years ago. lol

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      The Rope

      You are plenty welcome. I appreciate your comment.


      LOL , thanks for sharing. I'm guessing this was a few years back and he's no longer driving?! Tahnks for reading. Be safe out there on the streets :)

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago


      Yes, she does provide us with plenty to laugh about. I'll tell her I wrote about her and you send your regards. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      I remember driving with my grandfather quite a few years back (he's still alive and kicking at a ripe old 93 years old). We were making a left turn on a green light without an arrow. He saw the green and he hit the gas and started his turn. The now oncoming traffic of course wailed on their horns. My grandfather just smiled at me and quipped, "People are so impatient these days." Without saying it I thought to myself, "yeah, especially the ones you cut off."

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 8 years ago from SE US

      Ditto Petra Vlah! It's funny, it's sad and it's heart warming - thanks for sharing!

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 8 years ago from Los Angeles

      This is too funny Bail Up

      How can anyone not love your mother-in-law; she is sweet and hilarious. I had a really good time reading it.

      Thank you and please say hello to the 66 years old-young lady

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago


      then I shall interpret your silence! You're good for at least another couple of decades as far as driving years :)

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 8 years ago from san diego calif

      Bail Up dealing with Southern California traffic all I can say is good hub.I am only pushin 50 so hopefully I am still good for a few more years

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      BreakfastPop Hi!

      I don't consider 66 to be elderly but some bodies just break down before others. After all age is just a number. Is breakfast ready?

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      Hi FastFreta

      HaHa - I love Kenny Rogers, wish I would of thought of using that song quote for this hub. I appreciate you stopping in and commenting. Hold on to that license I think you have all your faculties together.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Wow, I never considered 66 to be elderly! In any case, let's face it, some people shouldn't be driving no matter what their age.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Your mother-in-law is hilarious, but did you say she is only 66? Oops I must be approaching the no driving age. LOL! My mother is 83 and is still driving, I don't know how good, being that she lives about 2000 miles away from me, and when I visit I have to drive. But I do know what you mean. I have seen some elderly people hardly able to move, get behind the wheel, and I nearly panic. Because my thinking is if they move that slowly, their response will be equally as slow. I guess we will have to be like Kenny Rodgers says, "know when to hold 'em and know when to fold them," (our driver's license that is). Very good hub.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      Truth -

      Glad you found the humor in it. Thanks for your comment , always good to hear from you.

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 8 years ago from Michigan

      good hub, really entertaining.


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