Saying Goodbye to My Car?

It's instilled in us that having a car is important. I remember wanting a car so badly when I was 15 years old. To me, having a car was equal to freedom at that stage of my life. It allowed me to be with my friends and roam outside of my neighborhood.

The Role of a Car

Giving up the car

Nowadays, having and driving a car is just a regular part of the routine. There's no excitement associated with driving anymore but rather; it has almost become a part of me. I need a car for buying the groceries, I need a car to go pick up my parents, I need a car to drive to work, but when I think further, is it need? Or is it want? What is the actual purpose of a car and what does it ultimately do for me? Do I need to drive to the restaurant even if it's just three blocks away? As I get older, I know some of my abilities will decrease, and I may not be able to drive anymore, but when will that day be?

I need my car today. I need to run errands. But do I have to depend on my car? Will I only be able to let go after an accident? Is that what it will take?

How Safe are Cars?

According to National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, 41% of the critical reasons for crashing were either inattention or internal/external distractions, and 34% was due to decision errors such as driving aggressively or driving too fast, etc.

Ironically enough, 95% of crashes are caused by human error, says Rae Tyson, a spokesman for the NHTSA, yet 75% of drivers say they're more careful than most other drivers.

Human errors such as inattention, distraction, and poor decision-making are huge factors in car accidents, but human errors are NOT just important and unique to the older population. They happen to just about everyone no matter the age or background. Human errors occur because we are all unique people and when driving, we drive with our personalities. Whether we are calm, relaxed, annoyed, angry or stressed, these emotions affect our decision-making.

The Time to Give-Up the Car

We all know prevention is better than finding ourselves unprepared. Baby proofing the house, setting up security alarms in case of robberies or emergencies, buying life insurance, and most recently being discussed, Aging in place, Age-Friendly cities and Livable communities. When you should say goodbye to your car is up to you, but it's never too early to start thinking about it.

Honestly, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Maybe just using the car three days a week instead of every single day. The idea is to start taking small steps so you can be less dependent on your car and more dependent on your body and environment.

You can start by walking to the nearby grocery stores with a foldable shopping cart or walking to the library to enjoy some good reading.

If you have a physical limitation, that's ok too; many cities are becoming more accessible or universally designed. If that's not in your area, be an advocate for your community because something's got to change and you deserve to enjoy your streets and what your neighborhood has to offer as much as anyone else. On the plus side as well you'll start to become fit and even save money on gas!

Living in your community is not about driving off to elsewhere to enjoy a beautiful park or a mall. It's about being able to live comfortably in your neighborhood and be in proximity to all these wonderful things without solely depending on your car. Use the bus/train/metro, use your community, because it's built for you. So let's get out there and advocate for change.



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