Learning to drive

Hi all been a while since I posted last,

I was just wondering if anyone has any tips on learing to drive with fibro, I'm awaiting a desision on pip (had my assessment so fingers crossed hear back soon) and I'm itching to learn to drive so that I can get out of the house more (turning 18 in a month and I would love to have even a little more independence). However my GP is concerned that the stress and demand that learning to drive puts on you may be too much as I'm not very mobile and my concentration is often very affected. Do I have to do anything specific when applying for a provisional license? Also how do I go about learning about adapted cars and whether or not I will be in need of one?

Thanks in advance for any and all help given and I hope everyone's doing okay (or as good as can be with lovely fibro)

10 Replies

  • Sorry I have other problems that keep me from driving. All I can suggest is study and try to get a car that has a camera that shows you what is behind you. Also maybe seat warmers to keep pain down a bit. My sisters car has the camera seat warmers and little lights on rear view mirrors that flashes if someone gets to close to her on the sides. She drives a lot so her steering wheel has her phone radio flashers and a lot more so it's easier for her to drive. She has other health problems that keeps her in pain. Good luck!

  • Thank you, and the cameras sound like a really good idea as turning my neck is something I find difficult, just got to wait for dwp to make a decision now. Hope you're well and enjoying the nice weather :)

  • Hi

    I can't answer your questions about anything in particular you need to do about applying for a provisional licence, check the DVLA website for that info. In terms of adapted cars, I would ask your Rheumatologist or the physio department (your GP can refer you) for advice - about the suitability of your level of mobility and about whether you will need an adapted car and how to get one - they should know or tell you who will know.

    However, my first thought with what you are asking is whether your lack of concentration is due to being in pain, due to fibro fog (slightly different) or is a side effect of meds you are on. Trying to tease those three apart will enable you to think about what might be done to alter the situation, if anything.

    Secondly I would be thinking about how you feel about driving, in other words have you ever tried to drive, maybe in an off the road empty car park, and how do you feel sitting at the wheel. Do you feel stressed or anxious, is driving something you feel you could do and do well, or is it something that scares you but for practical reasons, or perhaps other reasons associated with self-esteem, you just would like to be able to do. How realistic do YOU think it is for you, do you have confidence or are you a jittery person? Have you tried having a provisional licence and driving a friend's car just in a place like the empty care park where it is safe, if so, how did you feel about being in charge of the car, did you enjoy it, did it feel too difficult, did it confuse you.

    Presumably your GP has some basis for his attitude towards your learning to drive, even the fact that you mentioned it to him or asked him suggests you had some uncertainty. It may be that you have a history of anxiety, or it may be that your physical health problems are such that he feels you would find it difficult for that reason, or it may be that in the past you have responded to stress by seeking appointments and a higher level of meds. If a GP has a sound basis for thinking it might be stressful for you what is it that makes you think it may not be - you may cope really well with one kind of stress and not with another, but only you know whether learning to drive - and more importantly, driving afterwards - will feel stressful to you.

    Do you have the physical ability to drive? Are your fibro symptoms incapacitating or is it more about the brain fog and feeling of finding it hard to concentrate? If it is that, how do you struggle in other situations that require you to be aware of multiple tasks at once, can you do any of them? Driving is different to some things in that once learned it does tend to become fairly automatic, but it requires an ability to relax and at the same time notice anything important - such as whether you are in the right lane and whether the other drivers are doing anything stupid, etc :)

    Sorry to ask so many questions, or suggest you ask them of yourself, but asking them should clarify for you whether you might be ok driving - if you think you will once you have learned then ignore your GPs advice because you know yourself better than any health professional can know you. Get L plates and a provisional licence, try driving a friend's car in an empty car park (not sure whether you will need insurance for that, maybe not if it is off public roads), and if after that you still think you will be ok then go for it!

    If in the end it turns out to be unrealistic for you then ask your GP to refer you to a counsellor with whom you can grieve, because being unable to do something as basic as being able to get yourself around in the world can raise feelings of anger about being so dependant upon others with no chance of improvement, and also feelings of loss - about the life you might have had. Without support those feelings may worsen your fibro symptoms, with help they may help you to leave those feelings as well as earlier losses behind you, and who knows, your fibro symptoms may well be helped by that process.

    Good luck,


  • Thank you I got in touch with the DVLA and they gave me instructions on how to apply ect, and grieving the life I wanted to have is deffinately something I need to try to do, I always put it off and try not to think too hard about it but I know I need to face up to it sooner or later, again thank you for your help and I hope you're having a good summer :)

  • Good for you - I put off learning to drive until I was 40 - and found I am not only an excellent driver (according to all my passengers) but I also adore driving!

  • I do not drive anymore but I want to genuinely and sincerely wish you all the best of luck with your lessons.

    All my hopes and dreams for you


  • Thank you :) and I hope you are well and enjoying the weather :)

  • I gave up driving 2 years ago due to fibro. Concentration and pain in arms were causing me to be dangerous ! Hubby was gentle but firm, I was to stop driving before I caused an accident :( .... xxxxx

  • Better safe than sorry, but it still must of been a hard thing to do, giving up things others can do so easily is never nice, I hope that you are okay and doing things that make you happy, hope you have a lovely summer too :)

  • Its not all bad at all ! I never realised just how beautiful the countryside is around here ! Now I can look at it while others drive lol. I also dont end up shattered after going out for a bit which I used to when driving :).

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