With a 16 year old and 18 year old daughter, and an 84 and 85 year old mother and father, I am what you would consider part of the Sandwich Generation. These are defined as middle-aged people who have to care for their parents, and their children.
My father recently gave up his license. This was tough for a proud man who cared for his children and used a vehicle most of his life to get to work and generate income to feed and house them. My mother still has her license but of course, at age 84, there are legitimate concerns about how long she can continue to drive safely.
My 18-year-old daughter now has her ‘G’ license, which in our province, means she has little restrictions on who and when she can drive. This is a privilege she has earned after 2 years of graduated licensing. My 16-year-old daughter now has her ‘G1’ license, a beginner’s permit which allows her to drive with a sober, licensed adult in the passenger seat.
Teens have 4 times more accidents than all other aged drive groups combined.
There are daily worries. Is my 18 year old driving safe and under the speed limit as I taught her to do? Is my 16 year old getting enough time behind the wheel to make her a competent driver? Is my mom able to drive when she is tired, when she is caring for dad and when at her age, her reflexes aren’t what they are for a 30 or 40 year old?
If you lose your teenage child, it will most often be due to an incident with a vehicle.
There are over 2.1 million Canadians that are 16 to 19 years of age. These young people are old enough to drive but often lack the experience to do so safely. There are 3.7 million Canadians that are 65 to 79 years old. A portion of this population is fine to drive but some are approaching the age where they should not be.
Next to teenagers, seniors have the greatest number of car accidents. It is estimated that people make 8 to 12 navigating decisions for every kilometer they drive. According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, even small changes as a result of aging can affect your driving.
If you are part of the Sandwich Generation, have you thought about what you need to do for both your children and your parents? Do you have a plan in place for a time when your son or daughter has consumed some alcohol and shouldn’t be behind the wheel? Is that part of your evening conversations over dinner? Do you have a solution for your mom or dad who shouldn’t be driving, either at certain times or overall?
Planning for this is every bit as important as planning for your health check-ups, completing your financial plan and managing your other family plans. Ensuring you are prepared will improve the safety of not only your children and your parents, but for others in your community.
Driverseat is a vehicle transportation company specializing in Designated Driving, Airport Drop-off, Elderly Accompaniment and Special Event Transportation. www.driverseatcanada.com