I have been a subscriber for years and have found your blog very helpful. Now I need some specific – and timely – advice.
My au pair broke her right arm (she is right-handed). Should I let her drive? Can she drive the children?
She has only 3 weeks left in her year and has been a great au pair. She has a car for personal use but also drives our children to school 1 hour from our home. My experience is that she is a safe driver but I tried driving with 1 arm today and I found it extremely challenging, and it wasn’t for an hour long ride.
Has anyone else had this type of problem and how did you solve it?
I don’t think you should ever have your au pair drive your kids, or herself, when her mobility is significantly impaired.
Even if you (or s/he) can imagine being “okay” while driving in a regular situation, a safe driver has to be able to react in a split second to a dangerous situation. If someone can’t grab the wheel with two hands, whether because of an injury or something in your other hand, then that person can’t react safely.
I imagine it’s tempting to have her drive anyway, since doing otherwise would be a big imposition on you, her and your family. But you could never forgive yourself if you let her drive while impaired, and something happened.
When I was 23 I broke my right ankle and was in a cast to my knee. Because I had a job that required driving, and I was afraid of losing it, I decided I could “drive” with my left foot. I look back on that as one of my more foolish efforts at being “responsible”. Driving with a foot in a cast was the opposite of responsible.
Host parents, what say you?