Driving with PD

I realize emphasizing the importance of this subject won't go over well with some of you. However, I am hoping that our community as a whole is responsible enough to leave personal desires & convenience behind & agree that some symptoms of PD interfere with the ability to drive safely. For example, slowed thinking &/or movement, weak or numb limbs, cramping/dystonia, slow reaction time, chronic fatigue/nodding off at the wheel, & cognitive disorders with features such as confusion and poor concentration, eye-hand coordination, & spatial perception.

It's commonly known that giving up driving is a huge loss of convenience & independence. But is that more important than admitting to yourself that because of your symptom(s), you are a greater hazard on the road than you'd be without them? And if that is true, the responsible thing is to ensure you never cause a tragedy by getting yourself off the road - by giving up driving.

I'm sure some of you have already quit driving as I have. But I also know there are way too many accidents and accidents waiting to happen due to impaired drivers who manage to get & keep a drivers' licenses. I wish these people would take the time to really think it through & realize the damage that could be caused by their insistence on driving despite decreased ability to drive safely.

So what do you think?

29 Replies

  • hi

    i agree]

    ihad a bad road accident b4 being diagnonsedwith PSP and was so lucky hta ti was not badly h injured and that the crash involved no one else

    lol JIll


  • The way I fund out something was wrong, was because I could not get hands and feet to work together landing a small airplane, I tried 3 times and put it in the hanger, have not flown as pic since. It has been quite a few years and a head on motorcycle crash, now you bring up the next step I guess. I must soon quit driving, before I hurt someone. Thank you for the nice reminder. I am a firm believer that God uses people I do believe He may have just used you! thanks, your friend bill

  • Thank you so much for your comment. This is just what I'm hoping for.

  • I stay close to home on the days i feel my PD has taken over. I never drive in much t raffic because the stress makes my symptoms worse. I also don't drive long distances and when there is a choice, I always let my hubby drive. I hope I still have the wisdom to know when my driving becomes dangerous

  • Hi yes I have to agree, my husband gave up driving some years ago, we were driving back from Oxford when my son was at university there, he fell asleep at the wheel, he stopped the car when he could got out and said I nearly killed you and has never driven since. It is another loss I am afraid, but he still can ride his bycycle on cycle tracks safely and we can do this together when he is up to it and we have found this enjoyable, we usually aim for a pub and have a lunch. so life goes on and we find ways to beat the PD xxx take care and keep safe friends

  • Also, as My Husband's Caregiver, I do all the Driving since his PD has slowed down his movements. He is on Meds & doing better but not enough to drive, he feels. I was Sad for a long time about it, but now realize what a sacrifice, he has made, giving up his independence by not driving anymore. My Husband is afraid he would hurt someone in an accident. My Daughter will help with the Driving, especially if we go out of Town. I am Thankful for our Good Days !! We just went to a Beautiful Wedding & My Husband really tried to have a Good Time for Us !! Sleeping in a Hotel was difficult for Him, but we made the Best of It !! Take Care & Hug Your Loved Ones Today !!

  • Yes mrose I know what you mean and if you are like me would rather have been the one who got PD We too have probems now when we go away and I know sometimes Pete just does it for me. I suppose one good thing has come out of it is that I now have no problem driving on motorways which is something I hated, and I have to say Pete make an excellent back seat driver but thats another story Its good to share thankyou

  • Thanks You for Sharing too, Carrigan !! This is the First time I posted, and as a Caregiver, I just worry if I couldn't drive somewhere, like if I need Medical Tests or Oral Surgery. I have to learn, to ask for Help from my Daughter & my Brothers !! Our Son lives too far away to help Us !! I Retired to take care of my Husband & We enjoy the Simple things in Life Now !! Just taking One Day at a Time !! :)

  • Thanks for your reply mrose I am sure we will keep in touch, its different for us as caregivers and look at things from a different perspective and I am sure do not always know exactly how it is to actually live with PD although we do live with it from a carers aspect which isn't easy as our lives have had to change so much also. I still work partime but have support of one of my sons who still lives with us which is a bonus, Take very much care of you and yours xx

  • At the moment I only have a mild tremor in my right hand which doesn't affect my driving. My licence has to be renewed every 3 years subject to a medical review.

  • Im in the same boat. Do you know if we will actually have to have any medical examination? Mine is renewable in under 3 yrs now, I feel fine, when I don't feel fine, I don't drive, simples Alexander.

  • Yes I believe so. I was told by DVLA that 3 months beforehand they would send me a renewal form....and my fitness to drive will be looked at again.


  • I was thinking about renewing my driver's license, but after my diagnosis of PD, I am rethinking this issue. Although my medicationgs to not make me sleepy, I still experience the numbness and tingling in my lower extremities. My hands don't shake. My doctor has left the decision up to me.

  • I used to think my mother (82 and still going strong God bless her) would be the first to give up her license. Now I am not so sure. I don't drive at night, during rush hour, or far from home. My husband is my guage (sp?). If he says it is time I will park it. So far I recognize my abilities and disabilities and try to work around them. I would rather have to rely on others than cause an accident. On the bright side, our youngest gets his permit next year. Payback baby!

  • I know my ability to drive will come sooner than I'd like being only 36 now but even now sometimes I worry... I really hope I'm smart enough and not being stubborn to know what is safe for myself, my family, and everyone else involved.

  • how lucky most of you all are..........spouses and care givers....

    single people are not so lucky.

  • So true. Caregivers in this community speaking for themselves and referred to by their Parkies sound wonderful. And make such a huge difference in quality of life. Unfortunately, there are many other Parkies without caregivers. You are not alone in that.

    Hopefully, you'll be surprised to end up with a caregiver - perhaps someone you least expected. My husband is a great support in some areas but in some crucial areas, he is not competent or emotionally capable. Recently, out of nowhere my cousin stepped in to help me.

    I'd been making serious errors handling my dwindling finances. Was telling my cousin I was thinking of going to a senior volunteer agency to get help. She enthusiastically offered to help. About a week later she told me she was thinking & she had an exciting idea - that she wanted to help with other things & she would be watching out for me & plans for us to live together to avoid necessity of nursing care.

    I could never have asked anyone to take on this huge a burden. Her enthusiastic offer makes all the difference in my state of mind. I've gone from frightened to blessed. I have huge concerns about my future due to deteriorating cognitive functioning. I've had difficulty advocating for myself since 2006. Now, a friend or relative usually accompanies me to Dr. & other professional appointments - especially those involving decisions & transactions.

    Are you getting support from anyone in the areas in which you need assistance? Emotional support from friends and/or family? Go to a support group? Are you aware of community resources in your area? You didn't give us any info on how you are doing without a caregiver. I'd like to hear more from you about my questions & more - if you don't mind sharing.

  • My daughter tries to give me emotional support, but I hide most of my problems from all my kids and friends. My husband died back in 1974. I have not gone to any support group yet. Most people, friends, don't even know I have Parkie. they know I take meds every four hours but they don't ask why. they know I have numb toes, horrible lower back, but don't ask why.......... I have talked about not knowing when I will just nod off, and that I don't want to drive at night cuz that scares me, I did nod off once, and I was very lucky I did not hit anyone or anything...........but no one asks why !! there is a Parkie excercise class at one of the churches, very early in the morning, I keep saying to myself, I must go, but have not done so yet.

    I don't mind sharing anything.......keep in touch


  • P.S. I was diagnosed in 1998

  • I have had Parkinsons for about 6 years and still drive. Like Andy, I have to apply every three years to have my licence renewed. My Consultant then has to agree to this. I would never drive if I thought I was a risk to anyone and tend only to drive locally. I have been a passenger with a person who had dystonia, and boy was this scary and dangerous. My main problem is a tremor and this is helped by movement anyway so will have to see what the future brings.

    I hope I am sensible enough to know when the time is right for me to stop driving.

  • It took a long time and several conversations before my husband handed the wheel over to me. It was very hard for him. We saw his movement disorder specialist yesterday and on the way home he said he feels he can still drive but is afraid of what would happen if his meds suddenly ran out. I am glad he finally is thinking ahead and being cautious. It was getting I was afraid to drive with him and he got very defensive when I would grab the arm rest or brace myself. His specialist ws ready to be the bad guy and tell him to stop but he did it on his own before the doctor needed to intervene.

  • I still get loads of pleasure out of driving and consider my self still capable, and a safe and courteous driver.

    I live in a fairly remote area, if I had not the ability to drive I would be permanently trapped in the house.

    That would certainly be the end of me.

  • My mother stopped driving a few years after her initial diagnosis. Her father had accidentally run someone over at a vegetable stand, breaking their arm. I think having seen what can happen when you wait too long to give up the keys made her very conservative in her choice to stop driving. No one asked her to stop, she just did. She is fortunate to have my dad be able to take her to her appointments. Now we just have to keep an eye on his driving skills since he is 84....

  • I to live in a remote area, If I quit driving the burden on my wife will get overwelming, we have no options for help, kids all grow and hours away. I take requip three times a day, and at times it takes everythiong I have to stay awake. When its like that I wont drive. My biggest fear is lack of concentration, When I look in different direction, the truck seems to fallow my gaze.I was an airline pilot for 27 years, this lack of ability,is very trying, I get a little cranky but my wife helps a lot. Thank God for those who willingly stay with us.

  • Luckily I live in London. My freedom pass gives me free bus, tube, tram and the light railway, so getting around on a bad day is fairly easy, and free (except the river busses/taxis, which are half price)

  • I'm lucky to be able to get around all of Palm Beach County Florida thanks to a door to door transit system that goes everywhere the regular county buses go. Rides have to be reserved by 5 pm the day before.

    My husband drives me when he is available and there are some regular bus routes I can safely use when they stop frequently and when I don't have to cross streets or change buses.

    There is a $3.00 charge each way for the door to door service. The cost of riding the county buses for disabled passengers is 75 cents each way or $1.75 for an all day ticket. The cost of riding with my husband is gas $ and a huge THANK YOU!

  • Try again!!! getting around on a bad day WITHOUT THE CAR.

  • Dag ! all lowercase, your bad day is better than my good day ! Lol ! Joyable, I haven't driven in 2yrs. I have a great friend/land-lady who takes me to grocery store and drug store.There is a local support group and I've gone a few times when a friend from the group could pick me up but I thunk she may be having trouble driving...oh well. Stuck-n-the-mud!

    It's nice here on the Outer Banks of NC.

  • Florida I know. Is NC North Crolina?

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