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Dear Mahatma: I recently renewed my driver's license in Little Rock. I was telling my neighbor, who is retired from the Department of Finance and Administration, that I had a hard time seeing those little numbers on the eye test. He tells me if you ask they will make the letters or numbers larger. I've never heard this. True? -- Can't See

Dear Can't: This reminds us of a Car Talk column. A daughter wrote in about her Old Dad. Could the turn signal be made louder, and the arrow on the dashboard made brighter? Because Old Dad could hardly hear or see anymore.

The answer was -- take away his keys! Old Dad is putting his life and the lives of others in danger.

Back to the question, answered by Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin.

The agency can't and won't enlarge any letters or numbers on the vision test, he said.

There are actually two tests. One for applicants for commercial driver's licenses, and one for everyone else. Neither can be altered.

This got us to thinking about when folks should stop driving. AARP offers suggestions, of which here are some.

Maybe it's time to stop when drivers have delayed responses to unexpected situations. When they become easily distracted when driving. When they have a decrease in confidence. When they have trouble moving into or maintaining the correct lane of traffic. When they hit curbs when making right turns or backing up. When they get scrapes or dents on the car. When they have frequent close calls. When they drive too fast or too slow for road conditions.

This very last driving behavior makes our eyes bug out when we're tooling along at 70 mph on an interstate highway and pass an old fellow doing about 40. The disparity in speed is mighty dangerous.

It was Aristotle who said, "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom." He referred to introspection.

But knowing when to stop driving is also wise. And courageous.

Dear Mahatma: Can the Arkansas Department of Transportation use its alert signs to remind drivers to turn on their lights and all radio stations mention this when it is raining? -- Sharon

Dear Sharon: We are told by the Highway Department that it does use its dynamic message signs to remind people about their headlights. Messages include "Wipers On/Head Lights On/It's The Law," "Head Lights On/Reduce Speed/Use Caution," and "Wipers On/Head Lights On."

Guidelines allow for posting of such public service announcements on Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Public service announcements are rotated each month to keep them fresh. The signs, of course, are primarily there for emergency messages.

As for radio stations, we don't think the Highway Department has the authority to make them do anything. But we have heard many times a DJ remind listeners to turn on those lights if the rain is falling.

Metro on 02/09/2019

Print Headline: DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Driver has hard time seeing letters on eye test for license renewal


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Archived Comments

  • PopMom
    February 9, 2019 at 9:25 a.m.

    With Uber and Amazon and grocery store delivery services, it is just not necessary to drive. If you can't see, please don't drive. The stories of elderly people accidentally killing people in accidents are so sad. You would not want a blind person to kill one of your loved ones. Don't do it yourself. I know people who have relocated to areas where they can walk to the grocery store or a restaurant etc. Please stop driving.

  • Popsmith
    February 9, 2019 at 9:53 a.m.

    Just because you can't see is no excuse for not driving. It just makes it more of a challenge. You can always stick your white cane out the window.

    Seriously: It is a serious blow to the ego when you lose your driving privilege. Kinda like being put in a nursing home. You know what's coming next.

  • LR1955
    February 9, 2019 at 4:48 p.m.

    Several, if not most, of the wrong lane head-on collisions recently in the news have been committed by someone over 60.

  • ArkCurmudgeon
    February 11, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.

    Are you related to Bob Denver? Google his image and see what I mean.