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When is it time to hang up the keys to the RV?


Kirk W

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Living in a community of senior citizen RV'ers the subject of age and the problems caused is not a rare thing. Today at the men's afternoon coffee gathering, there was a lengthy discussion of how to know when it is time to down-size the RV, to stop driving/towing an RV, and even when you need to stop driving at all. The group ranged in age from a young 56 years to our two oldest members that still RV, one 84 and the other 86. Of those present, everyone above the age of 72 has down-sized from what they once lived full-time in and most of us have RV's of 30' or less, Two of those present have stopped using an RV and no longer own one, one had gone to a class B of van size, but only the class B driver stated that he didn't consider himself a safe driver in a large RV while the other two say they just don't enjoy it any longer.

 

Most of the group did agree that we older RV drivers should travel more slowly and stay off of the roads in bad weather. We also pretty much agreed that there is no specific age at which you need to stop RV travel but most of us also were in agreement that determining when that time has come is difficult. One person did state that he had a near miss, from a rear-end collision that he believes was due to slowing reaction time and another said that he found he was bothered by the length and so moved down to his present 26' RV.

 

Speaking for myself, at 74 I am quite sure that my reactions are not as good as they used to be and that I also do not have the ability to do things while driving that I once did and for that reason we have moved down to a much smaller RV and we never travel with it at maximum speeds. We used to travel in our motorhome at 60 to 65 but now I never tow at more than 60 and usually travel at 55. I also do not tow in the rain if avoidable and stop if rain persists. I keep my driving days short, although we started to do that while fulltime just to enjoy the travel more and have maintained that. I also try to be very aware of any limitations and of skill degradation but those are not always so easily self-judged.

 

So what do others think about how to know when the time comes to move down to a smaller RV or to stop RVing? It is one of those things that all of us will have to face at some time and for most of us it comes more quickly than we had expected. How about sharing your thoughts?

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I'm turning 70 this May and, so far, I feel lucky that my reaction time and muscle strength continue to be good enough to handle our 40' MH. My wife and I just completed a journey of ~1600 miles from Rockport TX to Maryland to visit with children and grandkids. Admittedly, we traveled in the CR-V but we completed the trip in 2-1/2 days and didn't feel that we stretched our capabilities doing it. Most of the trip was done at 75-80 mph and we both feel just as confident driving at those speeds as we always have. Both of us use our Lumosity subscription several times a week and several of the exercises are designed to force you to improve your reaction times. I can't prove that they help retain one's abilities, but they can't hurt.

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Really troublesome and sometimes scary to me is that higher speed limits now make it difficult and dangerous to drive at slower speeds in a lot of situations. Several years ago I was near Lufkin, Tx. on 2 lane needing to make a right turn where there was no turn lane or slowdown lane. The speed limit there was 75mph on that rural road. I gave a lengthy signal of my turn but there was a guy breathing down my neck like he expected me to make the turn from top speed. That is only one example. I really think he was going way over 75. When the speed limit was 55-60-65 a lot of people were going 10' over now that the limit is higher they are still going 10 or more over.

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Being 65 and RVing for over 25 years we made a decision when we started that has served us well and hopefully will for many years to come. We started with a pop-up, moved the a 28' TrailManor then a 30 TT and due to a Tropical Storm after ten years of use we moved back to a 27' TT. I wish I could remember the man's name who ran a self published paper out of the South Florida area and he rarely ever traveled the interstates, instead "shunpiking" and staying on US, State and County Roads whenever it was possible. He wrote terrific stories about his adventures and the people he met and we ran into him at the Florida RV Supershow at the Florida Fairgrounds in Tampa. We monopolized a lot of his time on a slow weekday during the show and spoke about it at length at home and decided to stay off the interstates whenever and wherever possible for our RV trips. We have been forced to use the Interstates a few times over the years but mostly we have avoided them. No truckers, wideloads, speeding cars and other road hazards. We go thru cities, small towns, pass through farm country, ranch country sometimes drives for hours without seeing more vehicles than you can count on two hands. We've found some small terrific campgrounds with great people. Restaurants that only the locals know about and while we are traveling is somewhat slower it is quite a bit safer. We've had leg surgeries, cataract surgeries and general ailments that afflick those of us who are getting older. Our trips and memories have continued to grow and we've never felt safer or more secure as we travel. If you have the patience and are willing to travel longer and slower it is so less stressful that we are convinced we can continue this for many years to come.

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I had a neighbor a Conroe Thousand Trails that was 91 years young. He was waiting for his wife to finish watching her soaps to hit the road. Only you can decide when it is time to park it. There are occasions when your health may dictate this time, hopfully only temporarily.

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The question of when to hang up the RV keys is just one of many questions that "Pop up" when we get older. When do we give up ALL car keys? When is time to give up independent living, and get some substantial help? How do we decide when we are no longer making sound financial decisions?

 

A friend of mine wrote a letter to himself, addressing these kinds of questions, with what he thought was reasonable answers. Then he sealed it and gave it to his son, with instructions to hand it to him when the time came.

 

I wish my mother in law had done that because the 'time has come" but she is scared of a future that is substantially different from what ahe has known and is a "slippery slope".

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For some, most have that mental state that tells them to hang them up. but there are those that just don't get it.

My late father in law, drove 18 wheeler's all his life, Pulling doubles, Always had his comeback, i drove 2 Million miles without an accident. Well that was good but last 5 vechiles all had there side mirrors knocked off from hitting trees, pulling to close. 6 days prior to his death. (79 yrs). took vechile out with a flat tire. Huge storm, after dark, drove 4 miles one turn was a 20mph curve, was doing 45. took out 2 street signs spun around. after going over a cement parking curb. Totalled out the car. Most of what was going on, was His PRIDE. Didn't want to say im done. An that is the dangerous part.

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When it's time is such an individual thing. We are all different, physically and mentally. My Mother hung up her keys at 94, probably should have been a year sooner. I am 80, 81 next month. We bought a new TT this year. The 5th wheel and dually are gone. I don't drive long days any more.

 

Newt

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When it is time varies according to how the individual. I am 69 and plan to keep going a few more years. We know a few folks that are a year or two younger and they are about at the age that they will have to hang up the keys. We have met a few in their mid 80s and still going strong.

 

We have slowed down the pace and travel shorter days and stay off the roads in less than ideal conditions. We are watching for the place to buy and start part time.

 

Ken

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When it's time is such an individual thing. We are all different, physically and mentally.

 

Should there be laws to address this issue for those who do not? My dad figured out when it was time and chose to stop driving but my mother never chose to stop, even when she moved into a full-care home. My sister "borrowed" her car to get he to stop and we just never returned it.

 

What about protecting others from us, or us from ourselves?

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Should there be laws to address this issue for those who do not? My dad figured out when it was time and chose to stop driving but my mother never chose to stop, even when she moved into a full-care home. My sister "borrowed" her car to get he to stop and we just never returned it.

 

What about protecting others from us, or us from ourselves?

 

There's more than enough "Big Brother" already.

 

Be careful what you ask for. You may get it.

 

Newt

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I would think that with today's technology, that a standardized test could be created that tests reaction time, eyesight, and hearing, that could be administered to elderly drivers. That would create a cut-off for unsafe drivers. It would/might also help create a better local transit system in metropolitan areas.

All of the racing I have done has always had a "Test", skills requirement, to move up to the next level of speed, vehicle size, etc. If you can't perform the tasks, you don't get to go fast.

Or drive your 45' motorhome,

or tow your 40' 20000lb 5th wheel,

Or just drive.

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I'm 66 . DW 61 . We are young and really don't see an end , yet . I feel I will be able to 'let go' , when it's time .

 

We have always traveled 'slowly' . A couple hundred miles is plenty for one day and speeds rarely exceed 60 . We prefer non freeway / interstate travel , We see a nice place to break , we brake and break . Rain , wind and other inclement weather keeps us sitting .

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There are resources available to check your driving skills. We noticed a couple summers ago that Ron's VA had a test ( in the Physical Therapy Dept) to test your driving skills. You didn't have to sign in with any identifying information, (it was on a computer program) so no repercussion if you scored poorly.

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I am 63 and drive 30k per year. I am going to make a comment so I hope it does not start something. I am WAY more concerned of being hit by someone on there phone or texting than by a older person with slow reactions. Just the fact that there are way fewer senors than texters while driving tells you the odds.

 

Dan

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Over the past 11 years, I have seen some RVers that should give up the keys due to age and difficulty of putting the RV in a spot. I also have seen some very young men doing the same thing. So, although I don't get around as fast as I use to, my reflexes are still sharp. My rear depth perception is not as good as it use to be, so I don't put the coach in reverse until my DW is back there.

 

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I would think that with today's technology, that a standardized test could be created that tests reaction time, eyesight, and hearing, that could be administered to elderly drivers. That would create a cut-off for unsafe drivers.

 

When my father-in-law had his stroke he was sent to a local rehab hospital for his testing. They required an extension handle on his turn signal so he could operate it with his right hand and what we once called a "suicide knob" to help with turning corners then noted that his reaction time was slow but make no recommendation as to that. The first time my brother-in-law took him out for a drive by the time he stopped for the sign he was in the middle of the intersection. The next car he bought he didn't bother with the turn signal extension. Yet he continued to drive for several more years. Only when he finally moved into and assisted living place with a bus to the grocery store did he finally stop driving. His stroke left him with impaired judgement but none of his kids were ready to take responsibility for making those decisions for him. I'm just glad he never hurt anyone else with his driving.

 

Linda Sand

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Each year I'm offered an optional computer based driving reaction test when I go for my annual physical. At 73 I'm still testing in the 30-35 year old category, so I'm not planning to hang up the keys or downsize the RV quite yet. We have cut back on the daily driving time between overnight stops en route to our destination though. Four hours seems to be our preferred maximum, since it usually means we don't have to leave bright and early, and we arrive with plenty of time to set up and check out the area if we want to.

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The problem is those responsible enough to realize they are no longer safe are not the problem!! It's those who don't realize they are a problem that are the problem!!

So very true and I wonder just how well each one of us judge ourselves... That same issue applies to special vehicle driving licenses.

 

The point of this thread however, was to hear some thoughts about ways that one should go about making sure that we accurately and honestly realize just what our current abilities are.

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Somehow a while ago I stumbled upon a UK based half hour program about folks driving over the age of 100, and whilst some went up the kerbs a little on a turn or roundabout, and there was quite some chuckles, they did comment that overall based on percentages, there are much more accidents in the 30's to 40's age group than the over 100's. Just saying that as much as young folks were commenting and complaining about older drivers should have their licenses taken away at ages ranging believe it or not from 55 to 75 years of age, the stats said these folks were actually safer drivers than the younger ones wanting them off the road.

 

Most of these older drivers were quite cognizant of becoming a liability in their older years, and some even took a test to make sure they were still safe to drive. It certainly made me think differently about older drivers, and there were families that I personally felt took the keys away from their parent causing untold upset and lack of independence for that parent prematurely. In fact the daughter of one seemed a far worse driver than her aged mother!

 

It's not an easy decision, for family members or an individual to make about themselves when the time comes exactly. A lot is also dependant on the density of population in the area they generally drive in. NYC/LA etc for example versus a sleepy hollow low density area requires different driving attentions during different timeframes. Heck my grandmother was driving long before driving licenses were compulsory, she just got in and did it = admittedly there was far less traffic on the roads in those days but nonetheless when licenses/testing came into being they were grandfathered in without a test.

 

Compulsory tests at certain ages I'm sure is only a matter of time before becoming another money grab for Big Brother in many countries!

 

PS: Did the test, and when I pressed the pad instead of a specific key it said I drove like a 71 year old, yet when I redid it and used the keys said 26 year old and 28 year old = not sure how reliable that test truly is based on such high variance?

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I scored in the top 32% .

 

See how you do :

 

https://www.justpark.com/creative/reaction-time-test/

I would not put much faith in this exercise. On one of our computers my wife and I consistently score in the 20-30 range. On the other computer we score in the 50-60 range. Obviously the computer you are using has more to do with the results than the exercise itself.

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I would not put much faith in this exercise. On one of our computers my wife and I consistently score in the 20-30 range. On the other computer we score in the 50-60 range. Obviously the computer you are using has more to do with the results than the exercise itself.

 

Yep, switching computers did affect my scores. I scored in the 30 or so range using a Spectrum cable Internet connection, but it jumped into the 40's on a 3G Verizon connection, so that's a factor as well. Our doctor's office has a test set that includes an accelerator, brake pedal, and steering wheel, for a more realistic simulator style setting.

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I would not put much faith in this exercise. On one of our computers my wife and I consistently score in the 20-30 range. On the other computer we score in the 50-60 range. Obviously the computer you are using has more to do with the results than the exercise itself.

 

Obviously , the connection rate has everything to do with results . My score was obtained over a campground WiFi connection . So , Maybe I have the reaction times of a 20 year old . ;)

 

None the less , it gives you an 'idea' of where you are .

 

A standardized , on site , real time set up / test ( like Dutch's docs office has ) would tell the story , better . At least it would have the same input device and a 'library' of data built from previous testers to compare with .

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