My scary drive home | The Observer | Roz Rogoff | |

Local Blogs

The Observer

By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

View all posts from Roz Rogoff

My scary drive home

Uploaded: Feb 18, 2016
I took one of my cats to the Bishop Ranch Veterinarian Center on Wednesday afternoon because she seemed to be in discomfort and wasn't pooping even after a small dose of MiraLAX. The vet wanted me to leave her for an enema and pick her up later that night.

I left to pick up my cat about 7 pm. It was dark when I got there and started to rain by the time I left to drive home. I have been living in my house on Mangos Drive for 18 years. I have made the trip to and from the Bishop Ranch Vet Center dozens of times. I even used to work across the street from Bishop Drive on Anabel Lane for seven years.

I picked up the cat and drove back to Norris Canyon Road. I turned right at the light to drive to Alcosta Blvd. I was reluctant to go home on Alcosta Blvd. because that's where my accident happened three years ago, when I was crossing the intersection of Alcosta and Bollinger. That did not turn out to be a problem.

But after I passed the light on Bollinger, the darkness seemed to close in on me. I drove past Montevideo, where I should have turned to connect with Mangos. That's when I became completely confused. I lost all sense of depth perception and couldn't figure out where I was or how to get back home.

I was driving my relatively new pickup truck which I had not driven much after dark. I thought I had the lights on, but I couldn't see anything in front of me. I was driving very slowly so I wouldn't miss where I should turn. At one point I was at Walt Disney School, which is on Pine Valley right down the street from Mangos, but for some reason I thought it was North instead of South of my house.

I kept driving on familiar street names, but couldn't find the right direction. I finally stopped to ask a woman in a small white car if she would help me get back to Montevideo Drive. She offered to help, and I appreciated it very much. But after I got back in my truck, I saw police lights flashing behind me.

The Officer got out and came over, but the women in the white car waited. I wish I knew her name to thank her. I thought the Officer would give me a ticket and a lecture on my erratic driving, but he offered to lead me home. The nice lady then drove away.

I followed the Officer's car with his flashing lights on to be easy to see and made it back to my garage. He let me bring the cat into the house and then wrote a ticket and a Notice to the DMV for a new driving test.

The Officer said I was driving without my lights on. That's probably why everything was so dark, but I thought I had my lights on. I was also driving too slowly and weaving around. That was because I was trying to see the street signs to see where I was.

This whole experience was a nightmare. Now I'm prohibited from driving after dark, but I don't want to drive after dark ever again. Daylight Savings starts on March 13th so it will stay light longer, but this experience makes me want to move into a retirement community this year if possible. I will check out some of the local ones in San Ramon, Walnut Creek, and Rossmoor. My sister's chorus is performing a concert in Rossmoor in March.

I also plan to apply to Piper Shores, my mother's place in Scarborough, ME. It is what is called Lifecare – Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Nursing Care. It is so popular that there's a waiting list of two or three years to get an apartment in the Independent Living building.

Mother likes to say she has all of her marbles. Last night I felt like some of my marbles had fallen out. I made an appointment with my Doctor on Friday to see what I could do about this. I'm not sure there is much that can be done other than moving into a place where I won't need to drive anywhere.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Feb 18, 2016 at 5:45 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Stay safe Roz.


Posted by no user name, a resident of Downtown,
on Feb 18, 2016 at 6:07 pm

no user name is a registered user.

Roz -- " I lost all sense of depth perception and couldn't figure out where I was or how to get back home. "

Please, PLEASE, stop driving. This is not a depth perception problem, it is not a driving at night problem, it is a cognitive function issue. I had an uncle who had these same issues at about your age. No one would take his keys away until he killed a young mother and her children. He forgot which pedal was for the brakes and he accelerated into them while running a red light that he forgot to stop for.

A person who forgets to use their lights in the dark and forgets how to get to their home of nearly 20 years is a person who MUST stop putting others at risk by driving. I think you know that too.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 18, 2016 at 6:41 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

No Name,

There was a recent story where a woman my age mistook the gas for the brake and drove into a building in the Market Place. Fortunately the space she crashed into was empty, but right next to the Bollinger Canyon Vet.

I didn't think I could ever do that, but now I'm worried I could. The San Ramon Senior Center has a shuttle that takes older people to the Senior Center and shopping. I shall check that out.

I'm not sure the shuttle goes at night. So far I'm OK driving during the daytime, but I will be very careful about which pedal is which.


Posted by Damon, a resident of Foothill Knolls,
on Feb 18, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Roz, you might also consider getting a GPS system. They're pretty inexpensive these days, and I'm convinced that they're not just a convenience but also effectively a safety feature since they reduce a driver's workload when driving. I remember the old days when I basically had to act as both pilot and navigator when driving around, especially on unfamiliar roads, and trying to juggle the job of driving while also trying to catch the names of street signs whizzing by. That was quite a chore. A GPS system, on the other hand, is like having a navigator by your side to constantly assist you. Miss a turn? No problem. The GPS navigator senses the missed turn and offers up a new route to get you to your destination. It really does help make driving a lot easier by allowing you to focus on the driving while it takes care of the navigation.

Beyond GPS navigators, there are also self-driving cars on the horizon but I don't know how many years it will take before those get to the consumer level.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 19, 2016 at 3:31 am

rosalindr is a registered user.


Someone offered to give me a GPS but I turned him down. I have one that I bought about a year ago and never installed.

I tried using a GPS in Maine when my sister-in-law loaned me her car, but I found it distracting. So I didn't install the one I had in my Focus. Now I shall put it into the Nissan pickup and try it out.

The real problem was with the headlights. The Nissan has a three-way switch: OFF, ON, Automatic. I had it set on Automatic, and turned it off. I will put it back on Automatic so the headlights will go on when it is dark.


Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 19, 2016 at 8:19 am

Thank you for sharing your story. I do enjoy your writing, and you remind me a lot of Erma Bombeck. Thank you for also mentioning how the police were kind and helpful to you. The liberal media, especially one of your fellow bloggers, loves to constantly criticize the brave men and women of law enforcement, who everyday risk their lives to keep us safe. The compassion the police exhibited for your welfare, and the welfare of other drivers who you were a threat to, is exactly how most police officers do their job everyday. Imagine risking your life everyday at work to keep others safe, while the liberal media constantly portrays them in a false and bad light. No wonder cities are having such a hard time in finding applicants for their police academies. We need to have more empathy and respect for law enforcement.

I am also glad that you decided to stop driving at night, and to consult your doctor. I am concerned about you driving at all, and would encourage you to look into other options. Rossmoor is a fantastic community, with over 100 clubs and activities, with beautiful grounds and amenities, without the horrible snow and weather back east.

I can tell from your writing that you are a good, caring person, and the last thing you would want to do is hurt someone else while driving. Giving up driving is difficult, as it seems like a loss of your independence, but living in a good retirement community, like Rossmoor, can actually add to your independence.

I will keep you in my prayers.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Feb 19, 2016 at 9:24 am

I stopped driving because of visual problems. That solved the problem!

PLEASE don't count on believing that you won't step on the gas pedal.

We both fall into the category of "ole timers". Like they say, Time Marches On!

better safe than sorry...if you count on thinking your way through your driving problem, then hopefully you will be arrested and arrested over and over and over and jailed until you learn this critical mercy.



Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Feb 19, 2016 at 9:26 am

one more thing...this is not about about how your brain changes as you grow up and stop driving...

Posted by Ennis, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on Feb 19, 2016 at 9:30 am

Unfortunately, these 'events' are a common occurrence and I have to agree with the comment above regarding hanging up the car keys. My MIL insisted on driving until, when stopped at a red light in a major intersection in Pleasanton, something didn't process properly and she, from a standing stop and against a red light, accelerated into the intersection and t-boned a work truck. Within the space of 50 feet she was going fast enough that the front of her Ford Fusion was demolished and the car was totaled. Not her fault she insisted. It was only after this happened that our children began to tell us a few horror stories of driving in the car with Grandma. I wish they had told us earlier and I wish we had asked a few more questions. Bottom-line, we refused to help with buying a replacement car and she was finally off the road (with a huge amount of resentment.) We were all incredibly lucky that no-one was hurt. Unfortunately, when it's time, it's time....

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Feb 19, 2016 at 9:44 am

It's easier and safer to hire a trusted and healthy individual to drive you to scheduled appts., shopping, etc.

Posted by no user name, a resident of Downtown,
on Feb 19, 2016 at 9:48 am

no user name is a registered user.

Please read all of the comments telling you to just STOP DRIVING. Your first issue was with the lights but the thing that scares me is your inability to remember how to get to your own home. That is not a vision or night driving issue -- it is the fact that your brain is not properly processing things.

There are more than a few people who are dead because an older person, who should not have been driving, killed them. Recently in Livermore a woman was killed due to an older and incompetent driver who drove into a fitness center.

Don't take the life of innocent people just because you demand to retain your independence. They are entitled to stay alive and that is more important than whether or not you are inconvenienced by giving up your vehicle.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 19, 2016 at 2:45 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

It was the dark and the rain that had me disoriented. My truck has an automatic setting to turn the headlights on when it is dark, but I turned off that setting when the truck was in the garage. I will leave that setting on now and I will not drive at night anymore. My mother didn't give up her car until she was in her 80's, but I guess I'm not aging as well as she is.


Posted by, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 20, 2016 at 4:39 pm


Thank you for the complement. I loved Erma Bombeck.

San Ramon is lucky to be able to afford to hire the best police. Not every community can hire well trained and courteous Police Officers. There are good cops and bad cops just like everything else.

We are fortunate to have mostly good cops. There was a scandal a few years ago when some members of our police force were on the take. So even here there can be a few bad apples.


Posted by, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 20, 2016 at 4:53 pm

Cholo and Ennis,

I saw my Doctor yesterday. I drove there in the daylight with no problems. I brought a copy of my blog so he knew the story. He said he could refer me to a Neurologist for a complete battery of tests, but he didn't think it is necessary. For now I will drive only during daylight and to familiar local places.

The Officer sent my information to the DMV and they will contact me to schedule a new driving test and any other restrictions deemed necessary. Most of my driving is between my house and the Market Place Shopping Center, which is less than 2 miles away on Alcosta. I will only drive during daylight and in good weather.


Posted by mandela, a resident of another community,
on Feb 22, 2016 at 10:48 pm

mandela is a registered user.

Thanks for some other wonderful post. Where else may just anybody get that type of info in such a perfect approach of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I am at the look for such info.
Web Link

Posted by Phil R, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 23, 2016 at 9:52 am

Hi Roz-
Very scary is right! There is a non-profit organization in our county called Mobility Matters. You might want to contact them at 925-284-6109 for info on transportation for seniors in our area.

Posted by Tom, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 23, 2016 at 11:52 am


I say this with no bad intentions. Please stop driving. We had to take the keys from my Dad years ago as he just could not face reality. He fought the DMV and lost as well. The last thing I know you want to do is hurt yourself or someone else on the road. We will all face this day and it is best to act too quickly than too late.
I wish you well.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 23, 2016 at 12:34 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.


I have an appointment at Villa San Ramon this afternoon. I will be driving there, about 2 miles, and I shall be careful. I will also look into Mobility Matters and the Senior Shuttle.

I have not heard from the DMV yet about retaking my driving test. I'm not going to stop driving during daylight hours until the DMV says I have to.

I do not do well in the dark. I cannot even sleep when it is dark. I always have a light on in my bedroom and if it goes out I wake up. Really!


Posted by Tom, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 23, 2016 at 1:32 pm


You should not wait for the DMV to stop you. They are very slow as they have a massive backlog. The distance does not matter and the fact that you think it does only adds to my wish that you self surrender your license.

Now having said that I wish you safe travels. Some day not so long from now I will likely be in the same exact situation as we all get there sooner or later.

Posted by B. Carefree, a resident of another community,
on Feb 23, 2016 at 7:50 pm

Sadly, if you don't take Tom's advice, you may well stop driving well before the DMV compels you to in a most unfortunate manner: by killing yourself and perhaps others. Elderly motorists are the most deadly drivers on the road on a per mile basis. I do wish more of our elderly would behave as mature elders and show some leadership, courage and community mindedness by surrendering their licenses in a timely manner.

You say you're driving just fine during the day-light. How do you know? The things you can't see are unknown to you. You say you're only going to drive on familiar routes. What will you do when something unfamiliar happens on those routes? How will you explain the the surviving family that you didn't mean to kill their father/mother/child, you just wanted to keep driving until the bitter end?

Posted by Ditto, a resident of Amador Estates,
on Feb 23, 2016 at 9:43 pm

The same thing happened to me a few years ago in that neighborhood. I think there is a Bermuda Triangle effect going on there. Oh, And you probably have Alzheimer's also.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 23, 2016 at 10:07 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.


Something unexpected did happen about two weeks ago, before the episode described in my blog. I was driving down Mangos from Montevideo. There's a blind curve at the bottom of the steep hill going down. A gardener's truck backed out of a driveway in front of me. I stopped immediately and missed him by 15-20'. My truck has excellent breaks.

The gardener pulled back in and I drove by. That's much more typical of me in daylight. Environmental conditions have an effect on younger drivers too.


PS I am considering moving to a Senior apartment. More on that in an upcoming blog.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Feb 24, 2016 at 7:31 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.


California DMV requires all drivers age 70 and older to renew their license in person, to take the eye test written and driving tests.

The citation you received was not necessary because you were due for the above.

If you pass a doctors physical, and he states you are fit to drive, than I recommend you continue driving.

Posted by Joyce Senechal, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 24, 2016 at 10:51 am

I am so sorry you had such a terrible experience. I applaud you for making that Dr. appointment and looking into different housing. Some older people(my mother) are in denial that their faculties, physical capabilities,sight, etc. are degrading. I love her but I don't want her to get hurt or hurt someone else. Thank you for posting this, it is time I had a ride in my Mom's car to see how her driving is doing. Bless you!

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 24, 2016 at 6:04 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.


I already did the above last October when I turned 73. Up till them my license was automatically renewed for five years in 2010. I passed the driving test the first time but had to take the written test twice. Now I guess I'll have to take them both over again.


Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 24, 2016 at 6:15 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.


Thank you for the kind words. It is really difficult for me to face getting older. I used to be very sharp mentally. I have a Ph.D. in Education and taught college online for many years.

Last year I taught Arts classes, which were fun and easier than the IT classes I used to teach. But by the end of my last 5 week course I was burned out. I couldn't remember things I always knew and I had a hard time grading student's papers. Now I'm just accepting 3-day workshops and not full classes.

Growing up I was around old people, Grandparents, Great Aunts and Uncles, and except for physical deterioration they seemed fine mentally. Maybe that's because I was still a kid.


Posted by cr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 24, 2016 at 9:50 pm

Roz, I know it is hard to stop driving. But if you don't have to pay upkeep on a car (registration, gas, repairs, purchase, etc.) taxis and senior shuttles are much cheaper. Just think of the money you will save! I now drive a neighbor many places, because her husband stopped driving and she never has. I am happy to do it for her...I'm polishing my halo for the future! Check with friends...maybe they will include you on their grocery runs, etc. People are pleased to help if you let them.

Posted by Nathan Hale, a resident of Bordeaux Estates,
on Feb 25, 2016 at 2:53 am

Some of the comments here are ultraliberal claptrap. I would drive until I'm 104 before deferring to that tyrannical state regulator the DMV, a throwback to commie FDR days that exists only to tax us and remind us Big Brother is watching. Like the IRS, Dept of Education, Dept of Labor, and Dept of Agriculture, we need to abolish the DMV. The good Lord willing, we'll have a Republican replace Obummer before too long.

Despite what the phony Pope says, I'm for a 30 foot wall, mass deportations, AND I'm Catholic. And I think any woman who aborts her child should be put in prison for murder. No statue of limitations! Round em up, throw away the key.

Cruz-Carson 2016!!!!!

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Feb 25, 2016 at 8:12 am

DKHSK is a registered user.


CR has a good point. Depending on the amount you spend a month on car-related expenses, an UBER ride might just be the ticket for you if you don't do a lot of driving outside of San Ramon/Danville area.
They're fast, clean, and cheaper than a taxi.

I have used Uber for a while now and will never go back to taxis.

Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 25, 2016 at 8:35 am

"Nathan Hale": I am also a Catholic who is Republican, but you and your extreme views only hurt our party and increase the chances that Hillary becomes the next President. In fact, I would not be surprised if you are actually a Democrat who offers false Republican extreme views as propaganda for the Democrats.

Trust me, I dislike the DMV as much as the next guy, but regulating drivers who are a threat to the public and should not be on the road is one of the few government entities that we actually need. Your attitude of putting your own selfish needs over the safety of others is not in line with my party, the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Reagan, and hopefully our next President, Marco Rubio( a fellow Catholic Republican) I continue to pray that those who no longer should be driving on our roads do the right thing and stop driving before a truly innocent life is lost.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Feb 25, 2016 at 9:12 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I much rather have Roz on the road than the slew of DUI's and the type A personalities that are currently injuring and killing people.

Posted by Nathan Hale, a resident of Bordeaux Estates,
on Feb 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm

I like your name. I bet you're a patriot who has risked life and limb in one of the Armed Forces while protecting fellow Americans.

There is much we can agree on. Like you, as a Catholic, we can both agree that the Pope is a fraud. Because when he says you can't support building a wall and be Christian at the same time he clearly doesn't know what he's talking about. It might as well be Obummer wearing the Papal Vicar's hat.

So too when Rubio wants to try all women who have had abortion for murder and imprison them as the murderers they are. This is the genuinely Catholic position to hold. Because God wants these murderers, one and all, even the ones abused and raped, in prison where they belong.

And as good Catholics and patriots, we surely can embrace together the idea that we need to resume waterboarding and other torture practices -- because they do it too! -- and we need more troops on the ground in the Middle East, and more bombs raining down on the bad guys and if civilian kids get in the way that's their fault.

I just don't think as good Catholics and Patriots alike that we go far enough with Rubio, who, admit it, is a RINO who covertly wants to allow all his Hispanic friends to cross the border. See him and the Gang of 8!!!! What most appeals to me about Cruz is that he wants to bomb enemies and their children until the sands of their God forsaken deserts glow in the dark and they hand every single barrel of oil they possess over to us because we are the exceptional American Christians who deserve to live as we do.

But yes. to be Catholic and torturers and bombers and deporters and punishers of wayward women, that's obviously what we hold in common you esteemed fellow patriot you.

And, Roz, stay away from the DMV. They are nothing but tyrannical regulators who want to control our driving habits, and like other regulatory fops want to disallow us from exercising our personal liberties to own guns and pollute if we so desire.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 26, 2016 at 3:06 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.


You need to go back home to the 18th Century, your noose is waiting. Oh and say Goodbye to Dog Father before you leave. I know he'll miss you.


Posted by Nathan Hale, a resident of Bordeaux Estates,
on Feb 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm

Dear Rosalindr,

I don't get it. Are you saying it is not possible to be a Christian while at the same time supporting torture (Rubio, Trump), high border walls (Rubio, Trump), prosecuting women who choose to abort their fetuses as the murderers they are (Rubio, Cruz), and bombing the Middle East for their oil?

Or are you saying it is possible to support such practices and still be Christian?

If it is the former, doesn't that make the Pope a fraud?

If it is the latter, doesn't that make Republicans who claim to be Christian hypocritical, self-deluded, liars?

Get your mind off of lynching, Roz, and give us some logical thinking instead. Please.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 26, 2016 at 6:02 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.


And I thought I was going senile. See a Doctor right away Nathan, or check yourself into a mental hospital. But stop posting incomprehensible comments on blogs that have nothing to do with your comments.


Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 26, 2016 at 6:18 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

Now here's something scarier than the police or the DMV. I'm being spied on by my garage door opener.

A few days ago I didn't pull my truck far enough into the garage and the handle on the garage door jammed against the rear bumper. I had to raise the door back up and pull my truck forward a foot to close the door all the way.

A day or two later I had a phone message from a garage door repair place saying they got my message and would schedule an appointment to come out and fix my garage door. I wondered why they were calling me, so I phoned back and said the garage door was working fine and did not need any repairs.

Now I just made the connection between the garage door jam and the repair call. I had my garage door opener serviced a few months ago. I wonder if the service guy put a transmitter into the opener to send a message if the opener malfunctioned.

He may have asked for permission but either I didn't understand what he said or forgot I agreed to it, but it is very spooky to have my garage door sending out repair requests on its own.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Feb 27, 2016 at 12:42 pm

The way I see it is that youR garage door may be HOOKED UP! to a Bakery that rolls out sugar donuts! Or, the FBI is keeping an eye on you catch my drift!!!

The antidote is porkchops 'n raisins. Or, fig newtons and warm milk!


Posted by tiki3, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 27, 2016 at 1:56 pm

I've never heard of that sort of technology. Maybe call whomever serviced it and ask them if they installed a transmitter? So you'll know for sure?

How was your appointment at Villa San Ramon?

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 28, 2016 at 3:06 am

rosalindr is a registered user.

Cholo, Are you implying that I'm fat? I'm not. I'm obese, bigger and better than fat!

Tiki3, Maybe the garage door thing was just a coincidence or I've been watching too many science fiction shows.

My appointment at Villa San Ramon went very well. I'm very impressed. I was almost ready to move, but I cooled off when I got back home. I'm still considering it though. I'm planning to move to an Independent Living facility here or in Maine in the next year or two.


Posted by Roz's garage door, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 28, 2016 at 7:24 am

Just wait'll we start posting your blags for you ... err blugs, no ... where's my friend spell-check-bot when I really need her?

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

California must do a better job spending cap-and-trade revenue
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 1,913 views

Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance grew from chance meeting
By Tim Hunt | 0 comments | 1,144 views