Driving

Have any of you had to give driving? I'm really scared this is going to happen to me.

50 Replies

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  • My husband is 66 now and had to stop driving about a year or so ago. I can't drive anymore either so have to rely on my son and daughter in law for everything.

  • That's my biggest fear! I don't mean to be angry, but today I am. To take my driving away, I don't know if I could handle that. That takes all independence away. I hate this disease!

    I'm sorry for spouting off it's just been a rough day.

  • Yes, that is going to be a bitch! I think about it too and wonder how I will cope. For those of us who live alone it's a little complicated. How are you doing with driving at this point? There is a sweet spot for me where driving is fine. It is between too much meds and not enough. Too much I get dyskinesia, not enough I'm like a weak little kitten driving around. I am still able to do it, I'm just super careful.

  • I have downsized in my car choice. I cannot drive what I was driving before. I ended up with a Chevy Sonic car, which is tiny but very easy to drive. The car bottom sits low so I wonder how it's going to be in the winter time. It is a front-wheel drive and I had those before and they were just fine. I have already made up my mind when the time comes I'm going to give it up since I don't want to hurt anybody. I have been avoiding very busy, fast roads also.

  • I also have one of those suicide knobs, you can get them on eBay. They are legal I only use it for parking. It helps. Chevy Sonic has an easy steering

  • What is a suicide knob.. never heard of it

  • It's a knob that you screw onto the steering wheel I have mine on the left side of a steering wheel on top you can look it up on eBay

  • Until I get used to the meds my Neurologist has asked me to just drive to the pool (1 mile) and to the stables (1/2) mile. But my perception is off and I can't back the car up for some reason. Driving forward is ok.

    If I do get to drive again we've decided to get me a preowned Ford Escape or the Buick Encore. I need to sit higher.

    I don't know what I would do without this group.. Many Thanks!

  • You're entitled to spout off, 12Maxwell3! People with PD, in this forum, understand, and are here for you. Parkinson's, and it's effects on many aspects of our daily lives, can make us all frustrated and angry at times. I don't want to give up driving either, and some in my family want me to. We didn't choose to have Parkinson's, it chose us ( so to speak ). Hang in there and try to stay positive.

  • Well now, Max, if you didn't have PD, that's no guarantee you could keep driving indefinitely. I had to take my dad's keys away and he didn't have Parkinson's. But once he reached his mid-70s, he lost his depth perception and had a couple very, very close calls. We all face the possibility of losing our faculties -- If we only knew ahead of time which ones, we could do a little advance planning, ha.

    Where you live, is there Lyft? How about shuttles? I know, it's not like being totally independent, and I sympathize. But at least we have some options these days.

    For a couple or three years, I was having an awful time driving. Pain would set in in the palm of my hand, and work its way up to my shoulder and rotator cuff. Then, voila! Apropos of nothing, the pain stopped -- I think due to longterm use of Cymbalta (mitigates nerve pain).

    As for the rough day, spout, Max! That's what we're here for!

  • Thank you so much! Things are better today. Some people have it so much worse then me and I need to remember that!

  • So glad to hear you're feeling better.

  • Thank you so much ddmagee1, I'm trying to do everything I can to slow it down, but not sure it's working. I'm walking almost 2 miles a day, swimming 6 days a week and Horse Therapy. I won't give up either, but as you know some days like today push me to the limits.

    Thank you so much for understanding . If you ever need me to listen.. I'm here for you!

  • Stopped driving long distance. I now drive no more than 20 miles one way.

  • Bailey, You drive 20 miles one way. Do you walk back?

  • i doubt you will have to stop driving for some time. You have only had PD for a little while and still have to get your meds and supplements sorted.

    I think it is really important to take one day at a time and not assume the worst. You will feel better for a long time before you start to feel worse.

    Was wondering how old you are? I'm 53.

  • I am pleased to be driving at my age (78) but changed to automatic

    when I was diagnosed with PD, I found that so much easier. I can't walk far so love my car.

  • I willingly gave up driving because I feared for mine and others safety. It was a difficult decision to make. I feared loss of freedom. I found a new freedom from my anxiety over driving and in. scheduling rides with family, friends, taxis, and neighbors. I can't walk a lot so public buses in my area are out. Best to you. It is scary. But I found opportunities not the least of which is organizing responses.

  • As several people have commented, and as I feel, it can be somewhat depressing to look to the future imagining the worst. Even if we did not have PD eventually we would lose some of our independence. I try to focus on the good things that I do have now. And we are now fortunate to have UBER which did not exist a few years ago.

    Interesting how people commented on how a smaller car helped. I have a car with a back up camera and I really like that.

  • We bought a smaller car, with back-up camera, and a few driver's aid goodies. It's much easier for us now!

  • Embrace the new tech coming. Think about driverless cars! Hang in there!

  • I love my adaptive cruise control. Couldn't do my hour commute each way without it.

  • Do you have any problem with perception ? I'm hoping if the dr can try a different meds, it will get better.

  • I don't. Just some slowness.

  • Slowness does come with it, doesn't it. If I get any slower a turtle will pass me😀

  • 12maxwell3 See your doctor or Parkinson's rep. They're the best people to tell if can drive or not. I m 67yr old ,got a tremor now and again although I've been told I have pd on Jan this year. As far as know I've had the symptoms for 2 years. Dvla asked me for d license back. Made their decision. Sent me a 3year license. They a team that deal with that. I don't tremor in the car. I feel in control inside my car. I don't know where you are ,this is uk I'm in. Hope this helps Without my car I would lost. 12maxwell3 Tommy

  • Hi, I've also have had to return my licence, and been given a 3 year medical review licence.. having not been allowed to drive for 4 months, which was a nightmare. So I'll take the 3 year review licence . Getting the independence back makes such a difference ,when you're already having a daily battle with a disabling illness.

  • My husband, who is 60 years old, just stopped taking dopamine agonist (NeuPro patch) out of necessity. His driving was pretty erratic before he stopped, and friends & family were afraid to ride with him. Since stopping NeuPro, he acts less erratic but runs the risk of getting drowsy. He, without prompting, stopped driving more than a mile the day he stopped NeuPro.

    I am so proud of him. I did not want to be the one to take away his driving privileges; I had to do that with my parents. Driving is a big means of independence. This transition is not easy for either of us as we have always allowed each other to live pretty independent lives. I now need to take on more responsibilities, including driving him to music gigs.

    The thing is, if you decide to continue driving even after you know your responses, focus, and/or judgement is impaired, you run the risk of crashing the car, injuring or killing yourself and/or other people. Think about how you would feel if you crashed into a van carrying a pregnant mother and four children. I use that example because that is my daughter's situation right now. So while giving up the independence of driving is difficult, causing a major car accident could be devastating to live with.

  • I totally agree. It's another issue with Parkinson's

  • 12maxwell3, try not to look too far into the future. As others have noted, many folks without our diagnosis have to stop driving as age related conditions worsen. If you don't have to drive to work and your regular destinations, gym and stable are close by and you are OK to drive to them, you are doing great and with adjustments in your meds you may be able to drive without restrictions for years. That said, it doesn't hurt to be sensible. I don't drive at night, on freeways or in bad weather, and find alternate ways to avoid difficult intersections and merges. I have a large rear view mirror, mirror inserts on my side mirrors, and a backup camera. When my 2011 Toyota Corolla bites the dust, hopefully not for a long time, my next vehicle will have every safety feature available or it will be self driving. For me it helps that I haven't enjoyed driving for decades and only care to get to the gym and local shopping. My partner, a retired truck driver, drives everywhere else. If I lived alone I would give serious thought to moving into the city.

  • I know you're right.. I am hoping in the future, but I doubt it. I don't want to hurt anyone else. I will see what the Neurologist says, but I know I better prepare myself.. thank you for being honest with me..I know you understand

  • I have a licence I have to renew every three years. Like all of us, I dread the day if I have to stop driving. I switched to an automatic and I'm fine for now. But let me tell you something that happened a fortnight ago that has shifted my perception. We were in a head on crash - a car came straight at us travelling on the wrong side of the road. Only my husbands super-quick reactions saved us from disaster because he swerved. Our car is a mess but we're ok. Our 18 year old daughter was in the back. Here's the thing. After the police came and sorted it all out, after the ambulances took away the driver of the vehicle that rammed us, and the guy in the van behind who was also hit, after the tow trucks removed the vehicles and they reopened the road, the police told us the driver had diabetes and had been having a episode. He didn't know where he was or what had happened. He shouldnt have been driving and he nearly wiped us out. So when the time comes, I hope I give my licence up gracefully. Second thing it taught me is that much as I worry about my future and how I'll be, I could have died, and all that worrying would have been utterly pointless. So, a horrible experience, a good lesson.

  • Thank you for sharing. How scarey for you. It really makes me take a step back and put things in perspective.

  • If everyone followed the 3 second rule most of us idiots could be on the road.

    But the whole world is in a hurry.

  • I agree that driving takes away your freedom and independence, but you gotta learn how to live with that. You can't change that, nobody can, at least not yet, considering how forward is medicine moving maybe our children can live up to the day when it's curable, but don't worry. My mom has Parkinson and she was really struggling when she had to give up her license, but she understood that it's only in her best interest. At least she had my sister nearby to help her and take care of all the stuff as I'm currently living in another country, but I'm trying to visit her as much as I can. It's not the end of the world as with all those diseases, you still gotta learn how to take the most out of your life.

  • I moved to a big city (Bangkok) partly because they have a pretty good mass transit system which I use daily. I thought by not driving I was making the world a better place. Then yesterday I was walking in a shopping center when a toddler ran up from behind me and slid through my legs. Because of the surprise and my lack of balance, I almost fell on top of him. I weigh 180 pounds - it would've been a disaster - the kid could've ben badly injured. This is the 2nd time this has happened to me. I'm now starting to understand why people isolate themselves in there homes.

  • It's really sad. The Child wouldn't know, but where are the parents. Any toddler if given the chance are going to run and what about the elderly that that they might knock down.

  • The parens were nearby. They were not irresponsible - you can't control a small child every second - I know, I raised two! Life is fraught with danger. It's fraught with a lot more danger for people with degenerative brain diseases!

  • You are right, but there still needs to be some guidance .There are several child friendly things to keep tabs on a child. I know I used to have them when my children were young. Anyone today could take the child very quickly . I guess I'm so afraid of falling and not be able to get up. Please don't get upset with me, it's just how I feel. If I've hurt your feelings I am really sorry

  • Not at all! It's nice that you care enough to reply. I'm sorry if I sounded angry - I didn't mean to. Maybe I should use more smiley faces :-)

  • lol.. we are all in this together. How long since you were diagnosed?

  • After 5 years or more trying to find out what was wrong with me. I had tremors, lost my sense of smell suffered from really bad anxiety. I had a new GP who tried a couple of different things and then said, well I am referring you to the hospital I think you have early onset PD and no more driving. This was a real upset to me, I have driven all my life, never been on a bus. I live in the UK and had driven round America which I love, Australia, European Countries apart from all over UK. The Doctor at hospital confirmed, so all you lot who are driving, I don't know why no one has said anything to you but good luck keeping on driving.

  • If you are involved in a traffic accident where others are killed or injured or property damage causes the matter to end up in court, the fact that one of the drivers has PD will often be considered highly unfavorable to that driver, whether or not he/she still carries a license. I earned my Driver's License in a 1929 Buick, having not,so far been the cause of an accident and recently retired the license, (and the Buick.) Eyesight, (depth perception) was the major cause.

  • Yes, I hope someday to be able to drive, but if I dont.. so be it.

    I have a question..if you had to have a disease would you wish to have anything but Parkinson's

  • We replaced our vehicle with a small SUV (Forester), Automatic transmission , good visibility thru windows, backup camera, auto panic braking, lane departure warning, easy entry thru doors, etc.

  • Yes, if I'm able to drive we're looking at the Ford Escape and the Buick Encore. They sit I up higher

  • I voluntarily surrendered my driving licence after an accident with a stationary car. I believe I must have fallen asleep momentarily due to the Parkinsons drugs. I thank my lucky stars I didn't plough into a person or people

  • I am so sorry! The meds are so horrible.. since being on this new one my tremors are worse then ever..I can't talk right at times, etc. the Dr has cut it in half and it's worse then ever..he's weaning me off of this and we are probably going back on Sinamet.

    Please hang in there!

  • They wanted to take mine a few years ago which was too early. I know when I can and when I shouldn't so I don't drive when I know I shouldn't; I don't want to hurt anybody. I've been using a Segway and think t's great, no balance issues for me. I could see it being hard to get on and off for a lot of us, but, knock on wood, that has not been a problem yet...

  • I'm going to start going into a parking lot and practice driving forward and backing up. Not sure why but I can't remember how to back up. Things I used to be able to do, I just can't get it into my head.

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