Multiple Sclerosis Community
MS and driving
About This Community:

Our Patient-to-Patient MS Forum is where you can communicate with other people who share your interest in Multiple Sclerosis. This forum is not monitored by medical professionals.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

MS and driving

Okay - so I now don't feel bad about using the buggies in the grocery store.  But what about driving along the streets?  Is there a point where you actually have to worry about your doc taking away your driving privileges before you feel you are too bad to drive?  I only drive when necessary now.  I am putting in for a handicap plate and there is the rub.  On that form the doctor determines your ability to drive.  I already drive like an old lady so not a thing I have to get used to in terms of slowing down.
Related Discussions
16 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
338416_tn?1413581329
I think driving is a decision you have to make on your own.  I had a crying jag this morning, because I'm tired of feeling trapped.  I want to be able to drive somewhere on my own, without having to be dependent on my husband to drive me around.  

So I need to do a couple of things.  Fix the Honda, because it's gas-efficient and I can drive it without any trouble.  Get my driver's license renewed.  And perhaps, if I'm concerned, evaluate my driving ability as it stands right now.  There's a non-profit group that offers driver rehabilitation and driving tests.  That might be the way to go.

http://www.unitedspinal.org/msscene/2010/11/04/driving-with-multiple-sclerosis-can-i-should-i/
Blank
338416_tn?1413581329
Ouch... apparently it can cost up to $450 to get a test done.
Blank
721523_tn?1331585402
As for the plackard or tag....I just told my neuro that loading the children and the groceries in the 90+ heat is more than I ever want to do.  He gave me a plackard, I did not have to ask. :-)  That plus electric start on the toyota are awesome!  I can crank that car from the door of Walmart and walk out to a cool auto!
Blank
1394601_tn?1328035908
I haven't driven in eight or nine years.  We have handicapped plates,  I don't remember my neuro even asking if I was a driver.
Blank
1453990_tn?1329235026
Colorado issues two placards. They figure most families have more than one vehicle.

Bob
Blank
1580434_tn?1378600128
I don't know about the driving. I do have handicap tag. I asked my neurologist and he just filled it out. Told him by the time I park n get into a store am to tired to  shop. Also to keep from having to park in the back forty at different locations for my job.

He put down ataxia/ balance issues. I did have a man ask me how you get one as I was putting it on my truck. Told him there is a form your doctor has to fill out. Make me feel funny. Reminded myself that it's none of my business what other people think.

Now if I could just do that with othr things. Like the electric carts in the store. Afraid someone from work will see me. Pride? Some and not wanting to look to disabled to do my job.

Don't think getting a tag would be a big deal if you need carts in store. You need tag for car.

Raz
Wondering why I ramble so when I post lol
Blank
738075_tn?1330579444
My PCP signed papers for temporary a temporary disabled placard last fall.  I think I used it twice.  I'm sort of self conscious about getting out of the car without a cane or crutches with a placard hanging from my rear view mirror.  But I'm so d@mned exhaused that walking from the parking lot into Whole Foods just does me in.  I get my groceries, load them into the car, get in, and take a nap!  It's a good thing I grow a lot of my veggies in the yard (automatic drip watering)!

I'm considering getting a permanent one.  I just need to get over my vanity/pride.  My neuro or PCP would give me one in a heartbeat.
Blank
987762_tn?1331031553
This is a constant concern for my family, no one is happy to hear i've been out driving or intend to go out in my little car. DH even made a point of getting my dr to tell me i should not drive though i noted its not official, its his advice based on hubby asking him to tell me not to drive. I take that to mean i can but i probably shouldn't.

It didn't help when i did venture out and nearly got collected by a semi, it wasn't my fault it was an electrical fault in my car, could of happened to anyone! I am not totally stupid, if i'm not able to stop falling over, well i'm less likely to want to go out, let alone drive. At the moment i'm getting over a long relapse so now that my brain isn't so wonky i'm feeling cooped up, these walls are starting to close in a bit.lol

I dont want to loose the freedom of driving, i'm not on my own much and sometimes i need the escape of driving down the freeway with the roof down, ok i'll admitt to not often being able to anymore but thats not the point, its freedom i'd not willingly give up. I know when its ok to drive and when its not, i think you would know before anyone else and probably the best judge too but if you really are so bad that your dr takes your licence instead of helping you get a permit, then maybe it is time to give it up.

Some how I doubt you'd be asking for a permit if there wasn't the need, so dont worry about what could happen and just do it!

Cheers..........JJ



Blank
1045086_tn?1332130022
The handicapped placard isn't hard to get.  As Sumana mentioned, you don't even have to have a license to get one.  You can apply and have it on hand to hang from the mirror of any car being used to transport you.

The question of driving is more difficult.  Certainly, none of us wants to give up the freedom and independence driving provides.  But having a license means we will act responsibly to keep ourselves and others safe.  

There is much to consider.  Some difficulties can be compensated for without sacrificing safety.  Other deficits may not make a daily appearance to trouble us.  Some symptoms are subtle yet potentially deadly.  Ever consider what a hypersensitive startle reflex might mean to your wheel control when a Harley roars up beside you or a stone hits your windshield?  What about the meds we take?  Can we still function well or are we so accustomed to their effects that we don't realize we're less than 100%?

Am I the best judge of my driving ability?  Maybe.  But the guy who had a cocktail or two thinks he can make good decisions too.  If my cognitive function is slow at work why would it be better in the car?  We constantly complain of extreme fatigue, numb feet and hands, vision problems and balance issues that keep us from living normal lives yet don't want to admit our vehicle might be more than we can handle.

I don't have a definitive answer for myself and certainly not for anyone else.  I certainly hope I'd pay attention if someone else was worried enough about me to suggest I shouldn't drive.  After all, it's a pretty gutsy move to risk the wrath such a suggestion might prompt.

Just some ramblings to think about.
Mary
Blank
987762_tn?1331031553
Gulp oops, you are absolutely correct about paying attention etc etc the worry my family have is not with the way I drive but the state i often end up in after being out and about, so its along the lines of not driving because of being stranded, alone and vunerable etc. all of which should also be taken into acount in a drive or not drive discussion. Its also a very valid reason for applying for a permitt, over here its not that easy to get one and hardly worth the effort due to the limited number of disabled parking spots anyway.

Personally i wouldn't even consider driving during a relapse, lol sorry if i implied i was being reckless and disregarding advice. My dr at the time responded in jest due to the way my husband asked, if it was a seriously considered level of advice then i'd hand over my keys!

Taking my families concerns seriously would mean i'd be wrapped in bubble wrap, they tend to be worry warts and i'm the opposite, it clashes sometimes lol my son nearly had a cow when i mentioned i was going to pop to the shop around the corner, dh goes nuts when he sees me working in the garden, realistic concern is one thing but this is going beyond reasonable, i'm not sure anyone would really take it seriously.

Cheers..............JJ
Blank
1453990_tn?1329235026
There are also "different degrees" of driving.  Driving around town is one thing.  Hauling the 35 foot fifth wheel RV 200 miles to go camping is a totally different thing.  Even going someplace and trying to drive while using GPS requires a different level of effort.

I've gotten to the point where I can use a cell phone with a headset while driving (cell phones while driving is legal in Colorado, while iPods, handheld GPS and text messaging are not.)  If it is a very technical call, I find myself pulling over to the shoulder to have the conversation.  It seems that heavy duty audio processing doesn't mix well with heavy duty visual processing.  Now, in all fairness, I have been doing that for the past 10+ years and have only been diagnosed for a year.

Driving requires a lot of "situational awareness."  It is not just attention, but attention to what I'm doing, what others are doing, etc., in 3D space while moving at high speed.  It requires huge amounts of visual processing and one of my medical issues is my vision.

So my partner does a lot of driving or he is the co-pilot, doing the GPS navigation, dealing with the dogs, keeping a 2nd set of eyes on the road and watching the blind spots on the truck.  He does most of the driving at night.  I guess that is how I adapt.  I guess I'm lucky that I work from home (very lucky considering Diesel Fuel is $4.00 a gallon.)

Bob
Blank
1140169_tn?1370188676
Man!!!! I typed up a resply and pushed the wrong button! Lost it! I hate when that happens!

I can't type the whole thing again, my typing finger is getting sore ;)

I'l just say that my dr orderred me not to drive about 2 years ago, months before I even got a dx ot MS, and for me it's not the end of the world. My wife doesn't work anymore so she's here to do all the driving.

I got the disabilty parking placard a few months ago and have yet to use it. It's not that I'm ashamed or embarassed(sp), it's just that I don't want to park in a spot that someone worse off than me might need.

take care,  Mike
Blank
1045086_tn?1332130022
My comments weren't directed toward any specific individual.  They were just things that I have considered over time and figured I could share.

I had to laugh about the worry wart part of your family JJ.  Some days I could build my nest in that family tree.  Like when I wonder.......
If someone else hits me and I go to the hospital and they run a tox screen that turns out positive for prescription drugs at therapeutic levels.... do I become liable for the fender bender?  
If I'm old lady driver cautious do I keep myself safe but cause the drivers around me problems because my actions are less predictable than the average driver?  
Is increasingly frequent road rage justified or an impairment to safe motoring?  
I've even wondered if it is possible for a few evening news highlighted auto accidents blamed on MS impaired drivers to trigger a campaign to label all PwMS dangerous drivers.  We could be targeted like pit bulls and banned by insurance companies (it's illegal to drive in our state without insurance coverage).

Thankfully, I haven't established permanent residency in that tree!!  ;-)
And thankfully, I've been doing much better lately and have no present need to evaluate my skills and limitations for motoring about.

I used to know the location of one of those simulated driving tests Jen mentioned.  It had a true-to-life driver's compartment with pedals, console and steering wheel and a screen something like an arcade game.  It tested reaction time and judgment under pressure.  Probably other stuff too.  A doc could order one and insurance might pay for it.  I'll have to see if it is still around in case I need a more objective opinion than my own one day.

In the mean time, EVERYONE please know that my comments aren't personal or accusatory.  I've gone on and on here because I recognize driving is one of the most important life adjustments we may be forced into when living with MS.  Independent transportation affects almost every other activity in our lives and its loss can even challenge core perceptions of self we have relied on for years.  (It isn't about running out for a carton of milk.  It’s about keeping cornerstones intact.)

Perhaps I should have kept my thoughts locked up rather than granting them parole.  They're so disorderly now I'll probably never get them rounded up behind lock and key again.

Take care all,
Mary
Blank
1168718_tn?1366236035
Hi, I too have a handicap sign in my Jeep.  I also only drive when absolutely necessry, otherwise I rely on my daughter or hubby to drive.  It *****, but what else can we do.  I also agree that there are times that I feel trapped, and just want to drive myself to Wal-Mart, but some days, no can do !!!  

Reality bites, and this is part of everything, I guess.   I have not been to optimistic lately , so sorry it sounds negative.

Candy
Blank
1045086_tn?1332130022
It sounds more like reality Candy.  No need to apologize for that.  It's a healthy thing to find whatever degree of acceptance possible.

That trapped feeling is something I want to avoid.  It's one reason I try to keep my world bigger than me and my MS.  I try to keep in touch with LOTS of people with wheels!  :)  Only kind of kidding here.  I do work harder to keep my social contacts strong these days.  It's not been a thing I paid enough attention to in the past and I tend to isolate when I don't feel well anyway.  I'm realizing how easy it could be to wake up some day alone with nobody to call.

Maybe I should think about moving to the city?  Public transportation you know.

I'm curious.  Several people have mentioned this "absolutely necessary" rule.  What types of events qualify for that exception to your general decision to avoid driving?  I don't want to offend.  I truly wonder how that works because once I make an exception for myself all types of things seem to tumble in behind.  But maybe that's just me being wishy-washy.

Mary
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I think I am worried about developing learned helplessness.  I am not helpless.  But I am attending a seminar about an hour away and was late this morning.  I tried to hurry getting in the door and had to walk a long way quickly to get in the door.  Hades - I late anyway, so I do not know why I was trying to hurry.  I almost passed out from the effort when I got inside

Long drives with the winda open no longer turn me on.  I once wrote a story for my editorial column in college about how writing was like driving on a warm night with a breeze slipping through the winda.  Now the keyboard feels foreign and the car is intimidating.  My life is changing.  I no longer drive as much as I used to, and I hope others can trust me enough to know I will hang up my driving hat when it is time.
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Multiple Sclerosis Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
469720_tn?1388149949
Blank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank