I’m worried about my father driving his friends long distances so they can play golf

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female office worker in my 50s. My father, who is in his late 70s, quit running his own business a few years ago and now enjoys playing golf. He goes to a nearby driving range every day and also goes to a golf course with three of his neighbors several times a month. This doesn’t worry me, but the fact that he drives them to the golf course does.

My father’s golfing buddies are older than him and they worry about getting behind the wheel for a couple of hours on the highway to get to the course. So, they ask him to drive. I’m pretty sure they cover gas and expressway fees.

But my family and I worry about their safety if my father were to get into an accident. I suggested to my father that they could take a taxi or go by train and meet up at the course. But he says it would be difficult for them to do so because they always try to save money and they have trouble carrying their golf bags.

When novel coronavirus infections were surging, they had canceled their golfing sessions to avoid riding in a packed car. But, when the situation improved a little, they started going again.

How can I get my father to stop driving his friends long distances while still allowing him to play golf with them?

— G, Osaka Prefecture

Dear Ms. G:

My suggestion is obvious: I think it would be best for you to get the consent of your father and then inform his friends of the dangers they face with your father behind the wheel.

You can start with something like, “As his family, I’m begging you,” and then say, “It is difficult for my father to say something, so I’m asking you on his behalf.”

If you emphasize it as a request from you and your family, no one should complain. Your father can’t say no on his own, so please tell his friends instead.

There are many traffic accidents caused by elderly drivers these days, but I don’t think it’s easy to convince your father to turn in his driver’s license.

How about your father and his friends take a taxi together to go to the golf course? If they split the fare four ways, it should only be a little more expensive for your father’s friends, who split the gas and highway charges three ways when your father drives.

Furthermore, apart from going to a nearby driving range, isn’t it a bit too lavish to go to a golf course several times a month? Your father could cut back on how often he goes and allocate those savings into alternative travel expenses. However, your father might disagree with this suggestion.

— Tatsuro Dekune, writer