driving is hard to give up

Driving is hard to give up, especially for those of us who live several miles from a town, but when I scared myself I realized I had to stop. I was an airline pilot for 27 years, a Capt for about half of that time. I've dealt with many emergency situation but one day a few months ago I knew I had to limit my driving to as little as possible.

I was driving home from about an hour away, maybe 40 minutes from home and in the oncoming lane I saw a car that was about to turn and cross my lane was about to be rear ended very hard. The car coming was oblivious to their being stopped and waiting to turn. I saw it coming, I had the cruise control on, and I froze, I didn't do anything to avoid it. All of a sudden it was happening in slow motion and I was watching from somewhere else, then right next to me BANG. Just as I got there they hit, I still had the cruise control on. Finally I hit the brakes, I spun out across the lane and into the ditch. Had someone been coming I would have hit them. When I hit the brakes I just stopped moving, I couldn't respond. I just shook when I stopped in the ditch. Like I said I spent my life trained to handle much larger emergencies and I froze.

I could say it's a fluke, maybe the meds, whatever but I know that something in my brain just shut down. The person I was, was no longer at the wheel. We live 6 miles out of town, my limit is about 7 and only if I really have to. It takes every bit of my concentration to do that, and I still find myself drifting away from the task at hand. I know we are all different with this, but after I had to quit flying before we knew what was really going on I drove truck over the road ( worst job I ever had) I made myself a promise that I would never cause anyone to put one of those little white crosses by the side of the road. When I spun across that lane of traffic I realized that I could do that because of PD. I hate being tied to the house so much, but whether it's meds, or PD, or both the risk is getting to high. The other thing is now when it sit down for a few minutes I can't hardly stay awake, that includes behind the wheel. My wife now also tries to make sure I don't drive, she does every errand she can and I know how much it increases her work load.

I'm 61 and went from flying a 4 engine passenger jet to very uncomfortable driving since 2006. I was dx 2 years ago. It's hard but the consequences could be harder. When the time comes that you or a loved on realizes you can't drive it's time to quit. My wife did see it coming well before I did, she completely wore out the imaginary brake peddle on here side of the car..

27 Replies

oldestnewest
  • hi

    it is a brave person who decides to give up drivign like u have

    i too cna no longer drive and it was an easy decision to give uyp as i had a car crash b4 i was dxd with the PSP but although the car was a write off i was ok s(bruises but no whiplash or broken boness)

    i realised my co-ordinaton had beena problem whilst drivign 4 a while and gave up my licence

    the friends who took me about and the taxi drivers all made it easier to go somewhere and now it is m y partne's role to do that fo rme !

    lol JIll

    :-)

  • That was the hardest thing for my husband to do. We would be going somewhere and he'd say something was wrong with the transmission because he was pushing on the gas pedal but he wasn't moving. I looked down and told him his foot was on the brake. He didn't want to give it up but knew it wasn't safe anymore.

  • Twice in the last couple of years when I was driving, with the cruise conttol on I went to hit the brake an d instead hit the accelerator. On one occasion nothing really happened, on the other the deer I hit did a couple of thousand dollars damage, thank God it wasn't a person.

  • I, too, have given up driving.........it kills me but I know it's the best for me and ppl on the road. I totally understand how you feel. I hate that it adds to my husband's list of things to do, but he says he doesn't mind. I count my blessings....could be worse.

  • I cannot stand the fact that I will soon need to do the same with both driving as well as riding my motorcycle...the first might be a combination of ego and inconveniences, the latter is my best way I have found to rid myself of stress, and my remaining source of great adventure.

    F***ing PD!

  • Sailing was my escape. I never felt more alive but it's hard to walk on a pitching boat when you have trouble on a flat stable floor. I agree on f 'in PD.

  • One of the cardinal motor symptoms of PD is “postural instability,” which, if it afflicts you, will cause you to give up riding before you give up driving. After all, if you lose your balance while driving a car, the car does not fall down. Not true on a motorcycle. My wife and I were both serious touring riders (six USA cross-country trips, touring in Japan, Canada, and New Zealand), and we were both MSF-certified Motorcycle Safety Instructors. When my PD got to the point where it affected my balance, I decided that the responsible thing to do was to give up two wheel riding. Of course, I could have switched to a trike, a three wheeler (e.g., Can-Am Spyder), or a sidecar rig; however, my wife, who had undergone bilateral knee replacements a few years ago, was just recovering from hip replacement surgery, and the medics advised her to hang up her helmet, so we both did. It was a tough thing to do, but we knew it was the right thing to do (both for us and for other road users), and we can live with that.

  • That is what I hate the most is the thought that I will have to give up what I enjoy. Especially driving my old Chevy.

  • I found it hard to give up driving but it became a no brainier when one day on a freeway I dozed off for a nano second and hit the gravel at the side of the road (in Australia). This was caused by the medication. I corrected the situatiion at the last moment but an important lesson learnt.

    I can live with PD but I could never live with myself if I caused injury or death to my beautiful wife or even a stranger

  • Dozing off is sometimes a result of the PD drugs we take. Dopamine agonists (e.g., Mirapex), are more often the culprit than Dopaminergic agents (e.g., Levodopa), but in either case, there may be a solution for you – a “stay awake” pill. My neurologist prescribed NUVIGIL tabs, 150mg, and they work for me!

  • I had to quit diving at night, have to make a trip across country soon, this will be the last one. I used to sell racing parts all over the country, It is hard to give in.

  • As a retired AARP Driver Training Program Instructor I can tell you that research has shown that men typically outlive their driving abilities by six years, and women by 10 years – so it is not only Parkinsonians who have to face the prospect or retiring from driving before they might want too... The good news is that typically, it won’t happen overnight. You will normally have plenty of time to work out alternatives – if you are honest with yourself about your diminishing driving capabilities. When your friends and family and doctors and clergy express concern about your driving, it’s time to get serious about retiring.

  • I wish I had those facts to give to my Mom. She would insist that Dad drive, even though he knew he should not, and she complained constantly and told us all how mean we were because we would not let her get her license renewed.

  • RoMo –

    Regarding driving competence, moms & dads are more likely to listen to doctors and clergy than to wives, sons & daughters. Another way to approach parents reluctance to accept the fact of their diminished driving capacity is testing by a driving specialist. Most jurisdictions will have specialists at their DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle- or whatever they call the state agency that issues licenses) who will, upon request, do on-the-road safety exams of suspect drivers. Most moms & dads who get a “FAIL” report from the DMV are less likely to argue with the professional tester than with their kids.

  • Last year when I had to renew my driving licence, the medical report was written on the basis of a consultation several months earlier, and it was not accurate, but my licence was refused. I re-applied and eventually it was refused, but it took 8 months, by which time I had lost a lot of confidence, even though driving itself wasn't a problem. I now only drive very short distances, but it makes such a difference for basic things like going to the doctor or dentist. I will have to apply to renew it again soon, but I don't think I will continue for much longer. I want to make my own decision, it seems very odd that they rely on the word of someone who only sees me twice a year,for 10 minutes in a consulting room. I know they have to be careful, but it's the driving of some other road users that gives me concern!

  • The driving of others is truly a big part of the problem, mine became being to slow. Or even reacting wrong.

  • Man, I totally feel all you are saying as I gave up driving 3 years ago at 45 yo. That was a tough deal. I knew I had to as my reflexes and reactions are much slower than before it could be a disaster waiting to happen. As for the falling asleep aspect, I can relate with that also. Just hits me out of nowhere.

    Got called backed to my movement specialist at Mayo in Jacksonsville on the 15th so interested in seeing what he has to say.

    Stay strong.

    Wayne

  • I thought they might take my license this year. I haven't driven save a few blocks in about a year. I have to depend upon someone and it feels like I have lost my freedom. ~~Dennis

  • I can still drive for up to an hour using cruise a lot. Had to put up my series III E TYPE JAG WITH 5 speed for sale.... Like cutting of my you know what.

  • The 16th of this month it will be 1yr since my accident - I'm lucky to be alive and gratefull I didn't hurt anyone. My children and I made the decision that I could no longer drive. It is one of the things I hate having to give up. It is frustrating having to rely on someone to get to appt.s and places when you know you used to do it for yourself. IT SUCKS that PD will take things away from me but not without a fight. Be careful driving

  • The 16th of this month it will be 1yr since my accident - I'm lucky to be alive and gratefull I didn't hurt anyone. My children and I made the decision that I could no longer drive. It is one of the things I hate having to give up. It is frustrating having to rely on someone to get to appt.s and places when you know you used to do it for yourself. IT SUCKS that PD will take things away from me but not without a fight. Be careful driving

  • The 16th of this month it will be 1yr since my accident - I'm lucky to be alive and gratefull I didn't hurt anyone. My children and I made the decision that I could no longer drive. It is one of the things I hate having to give up. It is frustrating having to rely on someone to get to appt.s and places when you know you used to do it for yourself. IT SUCKS that PD will take things away from me but not without a fight. Be careful driving

  • My compromise is only driving around town. Anything more I have someone take me. Hard to believe what I'm reading, thought it was just me; should have know better. I used a Segway last week, may give up car and just use that.

  • "Only" driving around town is not the answer. Most traffic accidents happen within 25 miles of home and at speeds under 40 mph. Most people crash while going out for a loaf of bread not while boring a hole into the horizon on the interstate.

  • Very true but I am pretty well able to concentrate for 6 miles or so. I do have to watch when and what meds I take, but it is a major decision everytime I put the key in the ignition. For the most part I really don't want to drive alone anymore, but I can't stay cooped up or rely on someone else for everything.......yet

  • olpilot - my heart goes out to you. I too have recently given up driving and I hate the loss of independence but I know that I would never forgive myself if I was responsible for hurting someone or worse.

  • I have not been on here in a while...late response. For all of us, driving has been a sign of our independence. I limit myself to short distances unless I have no other option. A few weeks ago my right leg and foot began having tremors while I was trying to hold it on the break at a red light, scared me. My daughter is 17 and is very willing to drive whenever possible so runs a lot of errands for me but sometimes I just have to get out of the house! Unless some cure comes along, I figure my current car is the last I will own...Fortunately where I currently live is just around the corner from a grocery store and pharmacy.

You may also like...