How would you approach this?

Twice a month, my wife and a neighbor  take turns driving to an Amish discount grocery store.  It is a combination, girls day out, and a chance to save some serious $  on the food budget.

When I got home from work, the last time they made the trek, my wife looked at me and said, “We were almost killed this morning in a traffic accident.”

Our neighbor, is in her late 60’s, does not like to drive in traffic, and creeps along when she is out and about.   Apparently, she (the neighbor) did not look to her right as she turned left out of the driveway.  The Amish store is situated on a paved road, below the crest of a hill..accident waiting to happen.  There is not a lot of traffic on it, but all it takes is one screw up.  Just as they were about into their lane, a blue pickup truck, flew in front of them, going at least 60 mph.  Both wife and neighbor were startled,  and neighbor sheepishly admitted she had forgotten to look to her right.

THEN,  as they were having this conversation, a semi barreled over the hill and passed them on their left…he too was flying, and had they been in an accident with the pickup truck moments before, there was little doubt in my wife’s mind, that the semi would have ran into all of them.

It is not my place to tell my wife, how to run her life, BUT I did suggest, she think twice about riding in the same car with the neighbor, if she is driving.

Wife had already made up her mind, that was the last time.  I suggested saying something sooner than later about the driving arrangement, before the next trip rolls around.  Both of us are pretty sure, our neighbor will not respond graciously when my wife breaks the news…Their next trip is coming up in a week or so…and neighbor reminded my wife on the phone yesterday, it was her turn to drive.  Wife didn’t say anything on the phone.

I always think, as much as possible it is better to have those kind of conversations in person, rather than over the phone, via e-mail, etc. etc.

Any suggestions on how to have that conversation and how you would word it?

As far as I’m concerned, she is an accident waiting to happen.  I can  very easily see this drive a wedge in our neighborly relationship.

Oh well.


29 thoughts on “How would you approach this?

  1. It’s all about setting healthy boundaries–as in saving lives. Your wife could say, “I would be more comfortable taking over the driving from now on.” Then let the woman ask why (or maybe she won’t). Follow up would be, “It would just work better for me to drive.” Keep in mind, I am not an expert on setting healthy boundaries in situations like this. I am just practicing.
    Let us know how this turns out…and we only want to hear good news.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I honestly think that if your wife just simply insists on driving, telling the other woman she is welcome to help with gas money, that it will go OK. She does not have to actually say why, but the intent will be implied. Personally, I am a terrible driver and would welcome anyone volunteering to do it for me! I *might* even stage a close call just to help that volunteering along…. 😉

    Liked by 7 people

    • If I was a betting man, I am going to guess this is probably pretty close to how that conversation is going to happen. Your comment about you being a terrible driver made me smile.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you Victo. I had a similar instance though I wasn’t alone with not wishing to be a passenger with this particular driver. The thing was she never helped out with gas money, and volunteered me to drive her friends home, even if it was out of my way.
      Sometimes we can be sheepish as we say we prefer to drive our own cars. I much prefer to drive than be driven, unless it’s Hubby behind the wheel.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Glad everyone is okay DM. Victo suggests the kinder, less confrontational way which is worth a go, but if that doesn’t get the message across I think that there’s no choice but to be straightforward and honest and let the relationship go in whatever direction it needs to. Clearly the neighbor has issues with driving in general and perhaps isn’t ready to admit that giving it up would be better, but Mrs. DM has to think about her own safety here. Perhaps she will, after some thought, be glad that someone finally spoke up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too. (glad everyone is OK) I have replayed that possible accident in my had just a few times..That innocent trip to the store could have turned our/ my life upside down. I can’t wait to see how this plays out. I will definitely have a followup post to this one 🙂 DM

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Point is – neighbor lady knows very well that her driving habits aren’t acceptable.
    My mother in law refused (at 93) to recognize (out loud) there was anything wrong with her driving – I could write a book on the close calls. After a particularly good scare I simply refused to get in the car with her again.
    Up here, once you are eighty, you are required to take a drivers test every two years (and supply a doctors form stating there is nothing medical keeping you from driving). Mother in law managed to pass those tests…. until 95. It’s a ‘three strikes you’re out’ policy. She failed three times. Still rages to this day (97 years old now) that her license was taken away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My grandma on my mom’s side was the same way. She refused to give up her license until it was taken away. She took her car up on a sidewalk and mowed down a parking meter (or two) before her gig was up. Your mother in law being able to keep it until 95.. Wow….bet you were all relieved when that chapter of your lives was over.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very much so. Speeding through school zones, playgrounds, running yellow lights….my favorite? If she were at a red light in the far right lane and decided she should have been in the left turn lane – she would wait for the light to turn green and simply mash the gas pedal to the floor and hang a left across all the traffic anyway. She also had a habit of drifting into oncoming traffic on the highway. It’s a wonder she didn’t kill somebody. When she lost her license her car looked as if it had been in a demolition derby (backing out into traffic, bumper car style parking – you name it).
        We’re I in your wife’s position – I wouldn’t beat around the bush. Offending the neighbor lady is nothing compared to dying in a car crash. God forbid the woman pulls out in front of a car load of kids.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. My guess is the neighbor knows her driving isn’t up to snuff but wants to protect her pride – your wife can do that by showing up/picking her up and, like others suggested, accepting gas money if she so chooses. If the neighbor puts up a fuss she can politely state that “letting Mrs. So and So drive just doesn’t work for her.” Then she can casually mention how she’s still getting over the not one but two near misses point from the last outing ~ and her concern that she make sure both of them get there and back in one piece. Then give a ‘take it or leave it’ smile 🙂 NO wiggle room. MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, your wife needs to suggest that she drive in future. If it were me I’d just say that the person’s driving made me nervous and get it over and out of the way. There might be a period of people not talking to each other afterwards, but that’s better than having an accident.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’ve called it exactly how it is probably going to play out…(no talking for a spell) won’t be the first time, and as far as I’m concerned, if that is how she responds, then that is her problem, not ours.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I had to have this conversation a few weeks ago with my dad. He has a number of health issues, which add up to his not being able to sleep much, and inadvertently losing consciousness for small moments throughout the day. He fell asleep driving one day with his wife and her grandson in the car, rolling 80 mph. They were driving through a rock cut, with cliffs on each side, the car off the road bouncing over boulders.
    That was years ago, and he he has kept his pride, and kept driving. He is a very stubborn guy.
    He wanted to come to a graduation recently from 3-4 hours away, but his wife got sick and couldn’t come along, so he would be alone, without someone to keep him awake. We had to have a very serious conversation, which wasn’t pleasant or fun, but the next day he admitted that it was the right thing to do (stay home). My brother and I made it clear that it was more important for him to accept his limitations and be alive, than take crazy chances like that. So glad he didn’t come.
    Dad and I are fine, no trouble with that. It came down to us caring too much about him to let him take a risky long drive, even though we wanted to see him.
    Good luck to you guys. I think like you say, in person, explaining the danger and that you care about the person, you’ll do fine. Just come from a place of caring and be genuine, I know you guys will.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You guys (you and your wife) are perhaps overthinking it, and it may be simpler than it seems. I do not see why the other lady would protest anyone else driving if she feels so uncomfortable in traffic. Just be open and straightforward like everyone suggested, mentioning that you do not want anyone to be hurt. The friend can take your wife out for coffee. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you are right Bee. (over-thinking) but based on the past 20 yrs living next door and other dealings with her, I give her a 30/70 % chance of responding reasonably…ie. 30% not a problem/ 70%/ cop an attitude, even though she knows she sucks @ driving.


  9. I agree with anyone here who says, “no brainer, wife’s life matters more than anything.” Re the “how to say it” question, I like the “I prefer to do the driving” with minimal explanation…but if extra diplomacy is necessary, I would make it all about me (if I were doing the talking)– “I just am so uncomfortable as a passenger, I realized that last week, I just can’t be a good passenger, I need the control of being the driver.” And I would stick to that story, which might IMPLY someone else is a bad driver, but never, ever says as much. Mostly talks about what’s wrong with me, and that’s fine.
    Because that is a hard and fast line no one else can cross, too…if I am just plain old NOT able to be a passenger with anyone but my husband, (or whatever) because of my comfort levels, then there is NOTHING anyone else can say or do to change that. It’s not about your good or bad driving, whether you took no-doze first, whether or not last time was an anomaly, WHATEVER. It is about me, and I can’t do it. Period. Can I please drive? End of story. I could care less if that makes someone else think I’m a pitiful, overcautious, control freak. So be it. I will be a more-likely to-be-alive pitiful scared control freak any day of the week……

    Liked by 1 person

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