Driving alone

As many of you know I value my independence especially when it comes to driving. I will happily jump into my car and drive to see my Grandad, Mother, sister and friends safe in the knowledge I have never ""gone off"" in the car. Today I had a bit of frightening experience. About 10 miles into my drive home from Grandad's (45 minute run dual carriageway all the way) chest threw a sudden and not exactly minor wobble. I pulled straight over into a lay-by and had a neb or 2, whilst I was sitting there hoping that this was just a normal blip I wondered if not how the hell I was to going to let someone know. If nebs had not worked or got worse there would have been no-way I could have made a phone call, I certainly would have been beyond coherent texting. There would be no point in dialling 999 cos I would be beyond speaking. I would have to hope someone noticed me slumped over the steering wheel I guess. Thankfully it was one of those a couple of B2B nebs and I was feeling better and I waited until I was sure I was OK then before setting off again and I called home to let them know I had not been so good and where I was at the time so if they got a odd phone call they could at least roughly guess where to tell an ambulance to head for, if they got a silent call from me. This is all well and good on a run to my grandads if people know what time I have left it is easy to work out roughly where after so many minutes and it is always the same route. But when I go to see my sister in Bournemouth the traffic can mean that it can take anything from 2-3 hours, when I visit my mother I choose my route when I see how bad the traffic is I have a choice of 4 routes and I vary them a great deal. How on earth can I get round the problem of getting into trouble whilst driving and letting someone know, without giving up my independence.

Maybe I am blowing this out of all proportion but I have never had such a sudden and ferocious attack whilst doing nothing more than driving before and it made me feel quite vulnerable.


18 Replies

  • I dont really have any advice about the rest of it but with regards to driving to Bournemouth is it possible to tell someone beforehand- sister, kids etc- which route you intend to take. I know its a nuissance having to stick to that route but at least someone would know. Also correct me if I am wrong but isnt there an emergency services number you can dial that allows your position to be tracked on your mobile phone. ( I think i read it on another post on here- the one about personal alarms or something- this computer wont let me search so maybe someone else could look.) I always tell someone where I am going before I go out riding on my own incase anything happens to me.



  • Yes - Em is right - dialling 112 rather than 999 allows the emergency services to triangulate your call according to nearby transmitters.

    Sorry you had such a worrying ""do"", Bex. x

  • Good idea about the 112. I have now added in my ""drafts"" a text to my mum, son and a friend who won't get freaked saying please call 999 location - and here I will hopefully be able to put in at least the road and direction. I have been driving for 3 years with my asthma in a state of ""go off any minute"" and this was the 1st time it has done so on the road big time so hopefully it was just a combination of the thundery weather and a me over-doing it a bit. The fact that I was able to have sane thoughts like ""how the hell do let people know I am bad"" is usually a good sign ""the more stupid the thoughts the more ill I am"" but it did worry me as if I am going off I don't have time for long search parties to be hunting long stretches of road looking for me.

    Thunder persists here has been rattling around for over an hour now and lungs deeply hacked off so am resting in bed and as I am having a new gas boiler fitted tomorrow think that is where I will stay.


  • Bex, making a poster with a large help message (HELP CALL 999 ASTHMA ATTACK) to stick on the driver's side window (pre-stuck with lots of sticky back tape around edges) might be an idea in case of poor coverage. I did see something similar out in my car a few years ago.

    Not sure what else to suggest - 112 triangulation would be safest.

    Hugs, Ginny

  • Hi Bex,

    You're not alone, although your Asthma is a lot more severe than mine is and from what i can gather your attacks are too my Asthma has always been a ""go off at any time"" type, although ive never been really bad or needed adrenaline or anything and im nowhere near classified as brittle (type one or two) but i always keep spare meds in the car, i too have a draft text and always dial emergency services on 112. I haven't been driving long, only since Feb but my breathing got bad once and I had to stop, and twice i went into an attack whilst i was doing lessons. My parents worry massively about this, and I have to text my mum when i get to wherever im going safely, even if its to my boyfriend's who lives a ten minute drive away!!

    I tend to just be sensible about it, if im on the motorway i drive as close to the hard shoulder as i can, i tend to always drive in inside lanes (unless im turning right or something) so that if i have to stop, i can without causing too much obstruction to traffic. I stop if I feel tight/wheezy/ have coughing fits, sometimes ive even stopped and not taken anything in the end because i was ok again minutes later but i see it as if i dont know which way im going to turn, stop anyway. I set off to places in loads of time too so im not worrying about rushing about, like to work and appointments so if i do stop ive got still got time to get there, or get in touch with them and let them know, or someone else will be able to.

    Another thing i did (well i say i did it, really my mum insisted on it) was i i got someone else insured to drive the car (my mum) and so if i ever took a bad one, and went to hosp by ambulance she could get a lift to where my car was and bring it home once she'd seen me and knew i was ok etc. I know this isnt possible for everyone, but thought id mention it, if you have family/friends who are experienced drivers i wouldnt imagine it would be too expensive to add them (my mum has been driving about 14 years and it was about £80 to insure her third party on my car).

    I hope you're feeling better now and im sorry you had a bit of an ordeal, and i hope my rambling has helped in some way!!

    Take care and drive carefully!

    Claire xx

  • I havent been in the same situation, but maybe this would help: world-tracker.com/ a friend told me about it recently, i havent given it a try yet, but i think it looks like something to consider. Besides, isn't it possible to track down any cell phone as long as it is turned on?


  • Hi Bex,

    I have copied a post that I did a while ago, this is what happens to me a lot and which is why I bought one of the key fobs for the buddy system as there are a lot of devises out there which work at home but this is the only one I could find when your not, it may or may not be for you but it has worked for me, just requires pressing the button thats all and your set up contacts get a message with a location using the bluetooth in your phone and gps.. anyway here it is,



    came across a product called the ""buddy safe"" or silent scream made and sold via the Lucie blackman trust, she was a young lady who got killed abroad when no-one knew who she was to locate her (i think thats the gist of it), anyway her family developed a range of saftey products which are aimed more for personal security than anything but was intreaged but this item as its like a small key fob that works as a panic alarm but is silent, no-one knows you have pressed it so guess for me is has a duel function as I have personal security too!. You link it to your phone (must have GPS/Bluetooth) and when activated sends texts and e-mails to the people you have set up as emergency contacts and tells them you are in trouble. I talked to them about it and about if i would work for me and my sudden asthma, when having an attack I cant speak and they agreed it was ideal, as not only does it alert as many people you have nominated that theres a problem but via the gps on the phone also sends an e-mail with a map giving your exact location.

    This has already saved my life once, when out alone one night an attack happened, i immediatly pressed the button and my family were alerted, they managed to download the e-mail map and send help, I am sure without this I would not be here telling the tale as I was in a desperate state when the ambulance came.

    heres the blurb from their website:-


    Most Personal Alarms Rely on Hope

    Hope that you can reach your personal alarm , hope that someone hears, hope someone is able to help and hope that someone can reach you in time.

    The BuddySafe range of products provide personal alarms with a real difference.

    The BuddySafe personal alarm system is based on proven wireless technology. It's discreet, effective and wide ranging in its applications. It is designed to get speedy and effective assistance deployed to the point of need for employers, employees and parents alike.

    Alert Us Without Alarming Them

    Our services fulfil an ever increasing need in the personal protection market; allowing the user to raise the alarm discreetly and without escalating any volatile or dangerous situation. That's why we have designed a product that requires you to do the simplest of things in the case of an emergency or distress .. just press a button!

    The core technology at the root of all BuddySafe Systems is the RF and Bluetooth enabled key-fobs. Using these technologies we are able to transmit critical locational data to whoever is responsible for your safety.

    When the button is pressed, your BuddySafe ‘talks’ to your phone. Your phone then sends a silent message to the server, which then locates the phone through mobile phone positioning technology. This location data is then sent to any preset contacts you have set up, through text message, voice call and email, with a map attached to the email.

    Their webiste is: lucieblackmantrust.org

  • Thanks for the all advice. The problem I have is the speed I ""go off"" last time I went off I thought I had sent a text to 3 friends that is saved in my drafts letting them know I am on my way in, all I have to do is go to it and send it and I could not get the co-ordination together to manage that. I know I would struggle add a location onto a text and I certainly would not cope with paper and sellotape :( The buddy system seems like a good idea, I wonder how quickly they are able to tri-triangulate your position. I am probably being OTT here, one minor event whilst driving does not mean it will happen again, but I am trying to be good and the memory of the friend I lost is still far to clear for me.


  • Hi Bex,

    im not sure about how fast the buddy system takes to get help to you, but i know if you dial emergency services on 112 its quick, even if nothing is said i *think* they still respond to the call and this would require less co-ordination than texting. My attacks dont start quite as quickly as yours and arent as bad when i go into one, but i do cope with the issue of it happening at any time.

    I'm also lucky that most people who i spend a lot of time with drive themselves like family, friends and my boyfriend and so if im not 100% somebody else can do the driving.

    I think it's a matter of building your confidence back up when it happens whilst your driving, i certainly find that anyway.

    I suppose the only other things you can do is try to attract attention with hazrds lights, head lamps, sounding your horn and hopefully people will look and someone might be able to help. Or maybe you could make a sign with string on it and hook it to those handles they have in cars near the roof? and then you wouldnt mess about with sellotape?

    I don't do too badly myself but it is something I'll have to consider more if/when my attacks ever become worse.

    Take Care

    Claire x

  • Hi Bex

    I've only had one bad attack in a car where unable to speak and fortunately it was in a traffic jam on dual carraige way. I put on hazzards and held horn down until someone must have investigated or got annoyed and called police who called ambulance. Don't really remember.

    My friend who has CP has a HELP disabled flag that attaches to the drivers window so people can clearly see she needs help.I think she got it with her breakdown cover. She's used it twice and each time people have stopped to help.

    I'm afraid that after my one off though dangerous i have decided to risk being hit by car to get out and be visibly collapsed at side of road rather than just sat looking normal in it.


  • After numerous phone calls I have tracked down the closest thing there is to a solution until they allow personal GPS emergency beacons on land like they do at sea!

    I spoke to the buddy system people who said it would not give a position close enough in an emergency like a big attack. After hunting high and low and almost having my father getting a fleet system for his company just so he could cover me with a tracking device and panic button I found the globalsat personal tracker. At the push of a button it will send a text message to 3 pre-programmed mobile numbers with my position on it, as it uses GPS it will give a longitude and latitude with is accute within 10 meters which can either be given straight to the emergency services or typed into google and you get an exact location. The draw back it is it will rely on mobile phone signal you need to have a SIM card in there. However, it is rare on the roads not to have some kind of mobile signal and I have a spare vodafone SIM card that I use.

    It is a simple push and hold for 2 seconds operation and you get flashing lights to show it has worked. Even in a state I should be OK to do that. Now to choose who I have has my 3 numbers and suggest that they set their phone up so that if they get a text from the ""emergency number"" it has some different alarm so they know to check it right away and act on it.

    There is currently a campaign to make it legal to use the same type of locator beacons as are used at sea on land, it is being lead mainly by those who take part in off the beaten track activities like ramblers and some horse riders. Obviously if they became legal they would be ideal as they would not rely on mobile phone siganal although I suspect they would be pretty pricey.


  • Bex, that does sound more reliable.

    Have been wondering how quickly 112 would be able to track someone.

    Mobile phone triangulation requires a phone to be within range of three phone masts. The phone is located by calculating the time it takes for a signal to travel from and back to each mast, and is accurate to around 50m-150m (from memory). Coverage is usually very good in urban areas. It's possible to locate using two masts, but not as accurately. If one mast only is in range, then the distance to the phone can be found (imagine drawing a circle around the mast on a map), possibly with an approximate direction.

    However, setting '112' as a speed dial number on your mobile might be a good idea, so that you can also call the emergency services by holding down one button on your phone for a few seconds.


  • Ginny, if you google globalsat TR101 then you should get some places that stock it I have one coming for £79 and have got 3 people to be my SOS numbers. They have all promised to keep their mobiles on and I will programme their phones to give off a different alert on getting a text from it so they know to check their phones ASAP. More info on it (but not a site sellin it is available here: globalsat.com.tw/eng/produc...


  • Just another thought about this thingie I have ordered. It will also work in the house. If it can't get a GPS lock it will send the last known location with a note that says it is ""not fixed"" meaning you are inside.

    Once I have it I will do some testing and report back.


  • I have had a couple of people contact me about the buddy safe system. I actually spoke on the phone to the people who make it and they were at pains to say it should not be relied upon to give accurate location in the event of an emergency like an asthma attack or anaphylactic shock type situation. I have not been able to find a fool proof method. The ideal would be the GPS beacons like the ones used at sea as they will work even where there is no mobile signal but they are not yet allowed to be used in the UK on land for that. By all means carry a buddy safe they look like a great idea for keeping yourself safe but do not rely on one being able to get help to you in the event of a ""crashing attack"" they are simply not able to pin point your location well enough.


  • Just a thought - do you have air conditioning in your car?

    I mention it because I run mine all the time when driving. I find it helps, so much so that if I struggling some days I will go for a drive until the air con settles things down.

    I think it is the pollen is filtered out and the air dehumidified as wll as cooled.

  • Hi bex

    I guess it would be hard for the makers of the buddy sydtem to make a gaurentee in case something went wrong and somebody sued them, but all I can say is that on the few occasions I have used it I was found and quickly so it must be fairly accurate!


  • Snowy, if you are in a a town or an area with many masts it is easy for for them to triangulate your position it is much harder out on the roads. All I can do is tell you what the buddy safe people told me, they were very sweet but quite concerned that I did not rely on it in an asthma emergency.


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