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Ataxia UK
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Great to be driving again. I now have a Vauxhaul Meriva automatic with push/pull break accelerator lever with integrated indicator switch for my right hand and a steering wheel spinner for my left hand. The back doors open the opposite way to most other cars making it easier for me to fold and place my rollator/walker onto the floor of back seats, close the door and sit myself into the drivers seat. I can do all this while leaning on the car frame between both doors.

Would be interested to know what kind of car and hand controls others have?

19 Replies

Hello Iain,

that´s exactly what my neuro-doc suggested .- it would have cost

me around 3000,-- he said.

But, when talking to other SCA-sufferers I learned that if an accident

happened - guilty or not guilty the police would put the blame on me anyway.

So, after a sleepless night I decided NOT to drive any more.

Maybe that was an idiotic decision.

A friend ( also with SCA ) some days back said " Don´t look back, don´t

look ahead just live"



If your insurance company covers you as long as you drive an adapted car, you should be alright. I am not insured any longer due to my sight. The ataxia is not the problem.



Hi Klazien. Everything has been taken care of through Motobility who I contacted in the first instance regarding terminating my car lease early and to have a new automatic hand control adapted car in its place.

I have just checked my insurance cover with RSA and all the details of the changes are clearly stated on it.

Sorry to hear about your sight not being so good Klazien. Hope you're coping well.


Definately not an idiotic dicision Jurgen. When I gave up my licence two years ago it was not because I was told to. It was because I didn't feel safe and was thinking of others.



But, it still hurts.




I do not drive becaus despite the leagle arguments as it is an ofence to "drive under the infeluence of drink and drugs" I am sure ataxia would be included as it is sometimes discrbed as being smilar to being drunk. The main point is that if there is an acident dispite blame would you think "if I didn't have ataxia could I have got out of the way" and blame yourself that is what stopped me


ian25 says "When I gave up my licence two years ago it was not because I was told to. It was because I didn't feel safe" feel safe now? Have you found a cure? Tell us where we can find it


No cure found Johnpa. The ataxia I have is much worse in my legs. Thats why I was tested to use hand controls only. Although I have relatively poor coordination in my left hand/arm I can use a steering wheel spinner easily. My right hand at the moment is fine. My hand control driving instructor was very satisfied with my driving ability and especially with my reaction time when braking. Mostly though, I feel much safer.


I have just applied for a provisional. Would love to learn to drive x


Good luck!


We are all so different, and our ataxias affect us in very different ways, even in families. I think if you are capable of driving, then it must be great finding a way to carry on. Plus the fact that they would not bother converting a car for you, unless they thought you were safe. Iain, your new car sounds great!

Personally, I stopped driving about a year ago. My reactions and eye-sight are too bad, to be safe. My sister still drives, and she is 4 years older than me, and also my Dad still drove until he was well into his 60s, I am use 50. I LOVED my last car, it was an automatic.


Yes you are right Litty. We are all different who have different needs and abilities. Thanks for your comment. Shame you had to give up driving completely Lit. I'm lucky because my reactions and eye sight are fine at the moment. Take care.


On the subject of driving, hi to all by the way! .....do any of you have any problems related to prioreception to outside of the car because of the ataxia?...I have been told by my Physio that this was what the problem was for me when I described how things were ( I took my practical test 5 times!!!) Some days my driving was worse than others.


Is that related to Sensory ataxia, cteena?


I get the problem with prioreception too, and I have Friedreich's. I think the problem is caused by deteriation of the cerebellum.

Anyway, I don't think it's for anyone to say (based only on the fact that you have ataxia) that you shouldn't be driving. That attitude really annoyed me when I started learning.

Good luck. I'm so jealous!


Hi! I've never heard of prioreception, I had to google it! Is it something

related to Diabetes/Thyroid? I ask because of my concerns about

underactive Thyroid.


I spelt it wrong - it's proprioception (that's what I was talking about anyway). You get difficulties with it when you have neurological problems.

Sorry about the spelling, it might be why you'd never heard of it!


Glad you are driving again Iain.I still have my mobility car for emergencies and I managed for two whole years like this.My ataxia was not so bad then.

I dont drive now as it caused me more worry but its nice to know its there if I need it.I have got my license til August next year.Then I need to see if the dr thinks me fit to drive.I informed the DVLA of my condition but I choose not to drive at the moment.I think we are all at different stages and we can choose for ourself if we are safe.I am safe but i would worry and get anxious so for me better not too.Not everyone has that choice!

I though it would be the end of my world but it is surprising how I have adapted.


My confidence is back Marie because I don't have to use my legs. I feel very safe now as long as I keep my left hand on the steering wheel spinner at all times. I don't drive very often though.


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