Do you still drive with PD? - Parkinson's Movement

Parkinson's Movement
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Do you still drive with PD?


I was talking to my husband yesterday and he said he would rather not have me driving anymore because of my slower response time. I told him we should buy one of those cars that automatically stops if I don't and there is an obstruction. What do you think?

37 Replies

Sorry, but if you drive with slow responses you are a danger to other road users.

If you are in UK it is a legal requirement to advise DVLA when you are diagnosed. They will consider each case individually

If your Parkinson's is affecting your driving then don't drive. Stopping is not the only thing that your reaction time effects. So please do not drive if you are not 100% sure you can drive safely. You would never forgive your self if you hit or ran over a little boy or girl the car can not make up for your inability to drive safely.

I believe in the UK they pull your license iYour husband is right.

Please do not drive i may be the one you kill.

With respect


It hasn't affect my driving as far as I can tell. But it is better to be safe than sorry.

Well I'm going to let my husband be my chauffeur and talk to my neurologist about what he thinks of my response time. I personally don't think my response time has change but I have a biased opinion. I didn't know I had to report the diagnosis to the Revenue Office. They are the ones that take care of licensing here in Arkansas. I got diagnosed only a few days ago. It is all new to me. So I'm supposing that you guys --- M_rosew and Bailey_Texas -- no longer drive. Did you stop driving as soon as you got diagnosed? Is there anyone who still drives even though diagnosed? When and how did you make the decision to stop driving.

Don't sell your car just yet. I stopped driving last year for about 6 months, especially at night. With a switch up in meds I fill fit to drive again. Just be honest with yourself and understand how you feel right now. Also understand you will not feel the same 6 months from now. The one constant about Parkinson's is change.

I still drive after 11 years with pd but i am fully on meds when i drive and can drive as good or better than any 50 year old (I am 62). I also use to race cars. If i thought i was a danger on the road i would stop driving. For the most part i have my pd completely under control. I bike I run and lift weights (400 pounds dead lift) You don't have to tell the State you have pd only if it affects your ability to drive. In the UK i believe it is required.

Just be safe the people who love you don't want to see you get hurt and neither do I.

BTW a drive a 2007 Corvette 430 hp 6 speed manual transmission.

I am glad the Rytary is helping. I can't get the picture of a 62 year old muscular man, racing down the highway in a 2007 Corvette, sobbing uncontrollably out of my head. Just kidding. It is a funny picture though.

Nitro53 in reply to Bailey_Texas

What can you bench?

Bailey_Texas in reply to Nitro53


Nitro53 in reply to Bailey_Texas

Good for you. Not sure how my reply ended up in this link

i find getting roaring drunk helps joke of cause

ruff1 in reply to TheresaCurley

My husband was diagnosed 10 years ago and still drives, it is a legal requirement in the UK to tell DVLA he has his driving licence reviewed every 3 years, he is probably a better safer driver than he was before diagnosis!! he drives two manual cars - an old Beetle and Triumph Vitesse and a six speed automatic Porsche and gets so much enjoyment out of driving. Be true to yourself you will know if you are safe or not.

Do *not* report your diagnosis to any authority unless you are legally required to do so. Here in California they are concerned with involuntary lapses in consciousness which are an obvious danger.

It would be best to get an unbiased observer to check your driving - perhaps you could arrange for something like that with a driving school. One the one hand you should not be driving if you are a danger. OTOH not being able to drive is a significant restriction in most of the US. If your ability is judged suitable you should not be deprived.

Beckey in reply to TheresaCurley

I still drive and I'd be in a real pickle if I didn't. I don't drive very much or very far, but do need to drive out to the campus where I'm taking evening classes to earn a master's degree. If I'm slower than I used to be on the road, it's because I've seen so many grim accidents as a reporter. I used to be a a speedy driver, always cutting in and out of traffic, when I was young. Now I think, what in the heck for?

Unlike most drivers, I tend to drive at the speed limit or slightly below. If I'm in the slow lane, people have no business honking, tail-gating and flashing their high beams (although they do it anyway).

Beckey in reply to Beckey

One more thing: I get horribly sore on my right side (my tremor side -- always sore to begin with) driving because of the constant pressure involved in changing gears. I'd like to switch to an automatic, much as I like the control that a stick shift affords.

TheresaCurley in reply to Beckey

I haven't driven a stick in about 30 years. I Love everything automatic as possible. Thank you for your comments.

I spoke to my husband's doctor and he had him take a test. The mental part was great could answer all the dumb questions and could even count backwards by threes from 100. Hand eye cordination and reaction time were not even in the safe range. I was the bad guy for a long time for having mentioned this to the doctor. Finally after 20 years he has either forgiven me or forgotten.It put a lot of stress on our maraige. It was the hardest thing for him to loose his independence. Having been a truck driver he thinks he can drive better than me. The worst back seat driver . I have learned rational detachment and patience if nothing else from all this. God bless you. Try to enjoy the things you still can do and try not to dwell on the things you have to adapt to. You still have so much living ahead of you. We are in our seventys now and still can laugh and have fun times it takes a lot more effort but still in our own home and doing what pleases us.

Beckey in reply to Noella21

I hated having to take my dad's car keys away. It represents more than just new obstacles in getting around -- it also has to do with identity. The big dad at the wheel vs. a passenger, a dependent. He was a good sport about it but it killed him and it killed me! But there's no missing when that time has come.

In Australia we have to report our diagnosis to the body responsible for driving licences.

My licence was granted with a condition of medical review in 12 months.

. Dx june 2015. I needed to have a statement from my Doctor stating i was medically fit to drive, to keep my licence.

Astra7 in reply to DEAT

Do we??

I still drive. I had to inform the licensing authorities in the uk and they granted me a licence to be reviewed in 3 years. I don't feel my response times are impaired but as you say, I'm biased, so every so often, I drive my husband and get him to check me out.

Go and have a driving lesson/mock test with an instructor. Independent view of your driving and they might have some tips for you. I still drive. I avoid busy rush hour and get the bus if I'm having an off day. Be safe.

One of the members of my PD exercise group "totalled his car" earlier this summer. Good thing he didn't kill someone (or himself). I understand that Uber (taxii service which uses regular people and their cars) is experimenting with "driverless cars." While I'm not sure how I would react if one pulled up in front of my house to take me somewhere.... I do think that it indicates we're getting close to a point where people with PD will no longer have to worry about their driving skills (if you can afford to buy a car that drives itself).

Hang in there.

TheresaCurley in reply to FMundo

First let me say I don't believe my driving abilities have changed at all though getting a good evaluation by another person is a really good idea.

Secondly I've been looking at the safety features that you can get with the new model cars. They are fantastic. They automatically stop if there is an obstruction in the direction you are going and they keep the distance from the car in front a safe distant. No tail gating when this feature is on. They also can tell you when you have gotten too close to either side of your lane and they can warn you when another vehicle is in your blind spot. Wow! My current car is a 2005, they sure have come a long way!

I've seen some documentaries on cars that drive themselves. Apparently they are being tried out in California.(?) I hope I'm not telling you wrong on this, sometimes I question my understanding of what I'm hearing.

FMundo in reply to TheresaCurley

I think you really have it, spot on. Exactly correct on all counts. I wouldn't be surprised at all if, within a couple of years, there was a medical device to assist PwP's with walking by stimulating leg muscles to work when you "think" you want to step. And actually, at the rate things are going, I wouldn't be surprised if a "shot" was developed to stop Parkinsons' progression dead in its tracks.

Beckey in reply to FMundo

Uber -- BAH.

That is all.

I drive with my wife, figure she'll let me know and I know I'm not as good as i was with reflex times but I figure just getting older is like that too.

Don't assume that a vague "slowness" in the way you go about your day is the same as inability to react quickly when needed, e.g. you are probably as likely to jump out of the way of a bus as anyone else. You need an impartial test. In the UK Both the Royal Society for the prevention of accidents and the Advanced Drivers Organisation do free assessments. All my life I have been a little "slow"/cautious by nature but a reaction test by the Police at the Road Safety stand when I was 70 (already dx.with Parkinsons) showed that my reaction time was nearer to that of a teenager than my age. Quite elderly people have been observed and though "slow" in one sense have been shown to be perfectly safe drivers - not with a back seat driver in tow - assume.

I find when sitting, my driving is adequate, balance problem is with my feet/foot not my vision/brain, but I do not have the same confidence in my driving. I was always a cautious driver. I need to go for a long haul and I haven't done city driving (multiple-lane raised highways with menus of interchanges) that I didn't enjoy even when I was younger. we'll see.

My one and only concern is that sometimes my right leg feels very heavy and hard to lift up when I'm in bed. It seems I'm fine when driving but I would feel better if I had a car with the automatic break feature. I will have to see about getting checked out by an occupational therapist.

An occupational therapist with a background in Parkinsons can test your driving abilities and response times. My scores were better than an average person without Parkinson's and put my mind at ease.


I have not driven for 3 years now. I took myself off the road and I absolutely hate it. Independence is gone. I ask my wife to drive me to the hardware store and then she asks what do I need. She says she will pick it up when she goes shopping later. I just want to look around the tools and stuff in the hardware store. I could take a taxi but we have a car .

Two or three time a year I read how an elderly person has driven through another drug store window, engine roaring, and they insist that they had their feet on the brake. I know one store hit so many times they erected a steel barricade.

I still have a license, l will probably not drive again. I could not bear knowing I was responsible for a death or injury.

TheresaCurley in reply to Hidden

Well self driving cars are on the way. YAY for technology!

Even with special safety features built in, accidents can happen. Giving up driving is hard to do. It is a loss of independence and can be depressing. It is better to decide to stop rather than being forced to.

Ask yourself this question: if I have an accident and hurt or kill someone else, how will that make me feel? Personally I do not want that on my conscience and why my husband agreed to leave the driving to me.

My partner with PD stopped driving about 8 years from her diagnosis (she's at 11.5 years now). Slow reaction time was not an issue, but she found that the stress of being on the road caused her to tremor too much at times to maintain reliable control of the car. She still maintains her license and has her own car, but I am the only one who drives it now, just to keep the battery charged :-). She's a very independent person, and I think that retaining a working vehicle of her own is important to her for that reason.

If your husband is telling you he thinks you're a less capable driver now, that has a certain weight, as our partners often notice things about us before anyone else does. OTOH, you have to consider whether there are control issues coming into play, as *some* men may unconsciously enjoy creating dependency in a relationship, or the status of being the only one who can perform a certain critical function, etc. You have to weigh the possibility of such an issue based on what you know about him and how you generally tend to relate.

So I would say that in general it is a good thing to maintain whatever independence you can, and driving is one thing that contributes to being independent. But if you think that there really is a safety issue, then it might be time to turn in your keys.

If you haven't had any accidents or near misses, perhaps you can keep going. I live in the US and still work, so I have to drive about 20 miles each way to work and back. I try to limit my distractions, don't use the radio much, don't touch my phone, and try to pay close attention, although I do get sleepy driving home. I've thought about getting one of those Teslas that drive themselves but I don't know how long I'll be able to continue working and they aren't cheap. They aren't foolproof either, they still have accidents occasionally.

dvla have put me on section 88 allowing me to drive subject to neuros report

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