Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Can You Drive A Car With Parkinson’s Disease

Nicolas Finds Even Long Trips Relaxing When He Is On Holiday Travel For Work Is More Of A Problem

Can I drive a vehicle if I have Parkinson’s Disease?

What about stiffness after a long haul flight?

One of the best things I did, because of the resort we were staying at, was get a massage. So that was good. I did have a bit of an adverse reaction to it because I was quite stiff, but I got over that quite quickly. Swimming was useful. Its interesting I dont have any difficulties with gross movements like swimming. Its the fine motor control and the small movements that I struggle with. So I appreciated that, so that was another form of exercise while I was out there.

Business travel, I feel is a bit more pressurised. In that its much more intensive for me. Our head office is in Toulouse. So its a flight there and back in a day and its a long day. And thats quite intensive and that I struggle with, and youve got to do a days work while your there and all that sort of thing. So that can be a bit awkward.

Judie Found That Her Disabled Person’s Railcard Did Not Just Cut The Cost Of Travel But Helped

Well you can buy a railcard, disabled persons railcard and you get, I think its half price each. My friend takes me down to London. Weve been to the Parkinsons Carol Service two, two Christmases now and various other events that theyve had on in London. And its wonderful to go by train. If you go in your wheelchair and make the rail company aware that youre going and what times youre going they are absolutely brilliant. The first time I tried it was two years ago when we went to the Carol Service. And we got on at Northampton and we were going to Euston and the guard was there to meet us. They knew which carriage we were going in and we were, planned to be back for about twenty past ten at night and, no half past ten. And we got to the station at twenty past ten and this gentleman jumped out from behind a post and he said, You must be my two ladies for Northampton. Ill take you up. And he took us up, made us a cup of coffee, and he said, Ill come and fetch you when the train comes into the platform and put you in the carriage. And, British Rail are criticised but they are good if you, if you tell them. If you dont tell them you cant expect the help. But they were very good.

Seniors And Driving: A Guide

Comprehensive webpage covering causes of driving difficulties with age, warning signs of an unsafe elderly driver, professional assessments of driving safety, how the DMV can help ensure an older adult drives safely, how to have ‘the talk’ about giving up the keys, ways tohelp a senior transition from driving, transportation options for seniors who no longer drive, and top ridesharing options for seniors.

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How Does A Person Know When They Should Reconsider Driving

A good indicator of when it may be time to consider driving retirement is when there are notable difficulties and/or changes in any of the symptoms we mentioned above. Since many times it is difficult for someone to notice a decline in function in themselves, it is usually a family member, close friend, or physician who will notice significant changes in function. It is the physician who will recommend driving retirement or make a referral to a specialist who can perform a comprehensive driving evaluation. Since driving requires a combination of visual skills, motor skills and cognitive skills, it is important to monitor how all of these areas change when someone is diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease like PD. If someone notices a significant change in function that might affect the ability to drive safely, this should be talked about with a doctor.

Another very important indicator of whether a person should be driving, is how well the person is currently driving. For example, have there been recent accidents or traffic tickets, small scrapes on the car, potentially dangerous actions observed by passengers in the car, or getting lost while driving, etc? Again, in such cases a doctor may recommend driving retirement or a comprehensive driving evaluation.

Driving Guidelines For Parkinsons Disease Patients

Can You Drive A Car With Parkinson

A few patients suffering from Parkinsons disease but off course of mild type may continue with driving vehicles. However, they should strictly follow the necessary guidelines, which include the following-

  • Drive vehicles only on the familiar roads
  • Limit their drives to only a few short trips
  • Avoid driving during rush hour or heavy traffic and on heavily traveled routes
  • Restrict the drive to only daylight hours and that too during only favorable weather.

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Knowing When To Give Up Your Car Keys: Transportation Issues In Parkinsons Disease

May 28, 2021 by Jared

In modern society, driving gives us the independence to go to the places we want to or need to, whenever we want. For most of us, transportation is a necessity in order to get to work, to do errands and for social events. Those of us who need to stop driving for medical reasons suffer a significant loss. Unless alternate transportation can be reliably arranged, peoples lives can be disrupted. I discuss here how to assess whether you are a safe driver and how to continue to travel if you are no longer able to drive.

Parkinsons disease may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle due to both motor and cognitive deficits. Predictors of impaired driving in PD include older age, longer duration of disease, slowed movements and cognitive impairment . Some of the warning signs that you might recognize include that you get lost driving, that your friends and family are concerned, that you feel other drivers drive to fast or frequently honk at you, or that you are stressed when driving. You may also feel drowsy because many people with PD have sleep problems and several medications to treat PD can cause tiredness. Frequently the family of a person with Parkinsons disease recognizes that there is a problem. Care-partner perception is actually a good predictor of driving ability . However, they and the patient are often reluctant to bring this up at a physician visit.

You Are Not Giving Up

Giving up your driver’s license does not mean giving up! Foregoing the use of your automobile may save your life or the life of someone you love. You can still ride a bike or a three-wheeler, walk, or even use a Segway. Be sure to contact local support groups to see if any ride programs are available in your area. Talk with local government agencies, hospitals, doctors offices, and social agencies or agencies on aging. You may want to collaborate with others in the same situation to create a car-pooling and ride share program of your own.

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Family Conversations With Older Drivers

This short web page highlights changes that occur with age that make driving more risky for older drivers, changes in driving behavior many people naturally make to continue to drive safely as they age, best practices for bringing up the issue if you think someone is no longer safe to drive, and some tips for situations in which the older adult refuses to make any changes to their driving habits.

Driving With Parkinsons Disease: Exploring Lived Experience

Parkinsonâs Disease, Are you Safe to Drive?

Jeffrey D. Holmes

1School of Occupational Therapy, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

2School of Health Studies, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

3Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada


1. Introduction

Given the implications that driving has for independence, autonomy, and social participation, exploring and understanding the lived experiences of people living with PD is critical to the development of targeted interventions and preemptive driving retirement approaches. Therefore, the purpose of the current secondary data analysis is to explore the lived experiences of people with PD surrounding their fitness to drive.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Setting and Context
2.2. Primary Data Set
2.2.1. Participant Recruitment

For the parent study, a convenience sample of participants was recruited via posters displayed within local movement disorder clinics in a midsized Canadian city and from information sessions that were delivered at local PD support groups and regional PD conferences. Individuals were eligible for participation if they were living with idiopathic PD and understood English. Participants were excluded if they experienced cognitive or communication difficulties that impacted their ability to participate in an oral interview or group discussions.

2.2.2. Data Collection
2.3. Secondary Data Analysis

3. Results

3.1. Meaning and Significance of Driving
3.2. Driving Cessation

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Driving Parkinsons And Medications

Just as sight-impaired people must wear their glasses when driving, people living with Parkinsons must take their medication as prescribed when driving.

It is not always possible to predict, but some medications can affect driving ability. Reactions to medications vary between individuals and you may not realise that a medication is affecting your driving.

Therefore, when starting to take a new medication, check with your doctor and pharmacist that it is safe to drive.

What Symptoms Of Pd May Interfere With The Ability To Drive Safely

Driving is a complex task that requires vision, appropriate motor skills, and higher levels of cognitive function to carry out safely. The most obvious symptoms that can impact driving ability for people with PD are typically motor difficulties such as resting tremors, rigid movements and difficulty maintaining stable posture, which may make it difficult to operate a vehicle safely. What is less obvious, and often more concerning, is that certain non-motor difficulties that can accompany PD may also interfere with driving. These include decreased contrast sensitivity which limits a persons ability to see things in the dark, decreased proprioception, which impairs a persons ability to know where their body is in space , decreased visual spatial skills, which may affect the ability to know how the car is positioned on the road, and difficulties with cognitive function which can impact memory, processing speed, attention, and problem solving. In our own day-to-day evaluations with drivers who have PD, we often find that it is the cognitive impairment that most impacts driving. Drowsiness that accompanies later stages of PD and medication side effects can also impact the ability to drive safely. Non-motor symptoms are less evident than motor symptoms and have been shown to be a more serious risk to driving safety in some people with PD.

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How Parkinsons Affects A Drivers Physical Abilities

There are two main areas in which Parkinsons affects your ability to drive: control and comfort.

In the early stages of Parkinsons, tremors in the hands or legs can be an obstacle to effectively controlling your car, and as these symptoms progress, your risk for delayed reactions, operator error, and collisions can significantly increase.

In addition, balance issues and maintaining a safe posture are both fundamental, if sometimes overlooked aspects of driving. If Parkinsons affects your ability to sit comfortably in your vehicle for long periods of time, it can be challenging to stay alert and focused behind the wheel.

How Parkinsons Affects A Drivers Visual Abilities


It is fairly common for people with Parkinsons to experience some challenges with their vision, which is the most important sense on the road.

Though these challenges can generally be compensated for easily in the early stages through corrective lenses, later-stage complications of Parkinsons like extreme light sensitivity, loss of vision, and even mirages and hallucinations can make it impossible to drive safely.

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Karl Robb Explains When It Is Time To Give Up The Keys

I used to love my car a copper Acura Integra and the freedom that came along with driving it. Over the years, I got my fair share of speeding tickets, and still today there are times I wish I could go for a spin.

Most of us perceive driving as a right and not a privilege. We see driving as an extension of our personality, our freedom, our access to the world. But if we see driving as much more than an act of getting from here to there, we set ourselves up for a letdown.

When I was 30, dyskinesia was becoming a major nuisance in my life and a danger to my driving. My hands, at times, would find themselves fighting one another for control of the steering wheel. The last thing I wanted was to hurt myself, someone close to me, or an innocent bystander. I realized then that I was going to have to make a change. I had to face my limitations and make some tough decisions. I had to stop driving my car.

How To Ease The Transition

Frank discussions with family members and doctors are often enough to convince people with Parkinsonâs disease to modify their driving. Some people may need additional input from a support group, lawyer, or financial planner to ease the transition.

Some people with Parkinson’s disease can continue driving under strict guidelines, although the long-term goal will still be to eventually stop driving. Guidelines for limited driving may include:

  • Drive only on familiar roads
  • Limit drives to short trips
  • Avoid rush-hour traffic and heavily traveled roads
  • Restrict drives to daylight hours during good weather

Itâs important for family and friends to find ways to help their loved one reduce their need to drive. These include arranging for groceries, meals, and prescriptions to be delivered to the home, or for barbers or hairdressers to come to the home.

Itâs also important to help your loved one become accustomed to using alternate methods of transportation, such as:

  • Rides from family and friends
  • Taxi cabs
  • Public buses, trains, and subways
  • Walking

Your local Area Agency on Aging can help you find transportation services for a loved one. Eldercare Locator, a service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, can also assist. Its phone number is 800-677-1116,

If your loved one refuses to voluntarily limit or stop driving, despite a demonstrated need to do so, you may need to take more aggressive steps, such as:

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Systematic Review Of Assessment Tools For Determining Fitness To Drive In Parkinsons Disease Patients

The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review of the four main driving assessment methods and provide the evidence on individual methods for assessing driving ability in PD patients. To address the question of how much evidence we have regarding driving competency in PD, we performed a systematic review by searching MEDLINE, life science journals, Google scholar, and online books using the following key words: driving OR driving safety OR driving ability OR road test OR driving questionnaires OR sleepiness scale OR driving simulator OR naturalistic driving OR car sensor OR reaction time OR driver OR transportation OR automobile OR car OR vehicle OR collision injury OR car accident. Selected articles were required to have the term Parkinsons disease AND any one of the above key words within the title and/or abstract.

Table 3 Summary of studies involving driving assessment tools in patients with Parkinsons disease

Who Determines If I Can Drive With Parkinsons

Driving with Parkinson’s Part 1

There are no laws in Connecticut that prohibit people with Parkinsons from driving, but any concerned loved one, physician, or law-enforcement officer can submit an anonymous, protected form to suspend the license of anyone they feel is a risk on the road.

Before this process is needed, we recommend taking steps to work with friends, family, and the experts to come up with a plan to keep you confidently and safely driving as long as its within your abilities.

This is where a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist comes in. These clinical driving and occupational therapy experts can help provide a likely timeline of symptoms, some warning signs to be aware of, and help you tailor a personalized plan for driving as long as its safe.

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What Is Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder where certain cells in the basal ganglia of the brain die off over time. These cells are responsible for communicating with the muscles to create movement, so as they deteriorate, your body slowly loses the ability to control its muscles.

While around 1 in 10 cases of Parkinsons can be tied to genetics, the vast majority occur randomly , and tend to follow a similar progression.

In the first stage, people with Parkinsons notice a mild tremor on one side of their body, or changes in facial expression, walking, or posture. In the second stage, these problems expand to affect the whole body, and worsen.

In the third stage, movement and balance becomes challenging, to the point where in stage four most people struggle to continue living independently. Finally, stage five often leads to confinement to a bed or wheelchair, loss of muscle function, and more severe cognitive symptoms like dementia.

Parkinsons is a medical condition much more commonly found in older adults, and there is no known treatment to cure or slow the disease, though some symptoms can be managed with medication.

How Parkinsons Disease Symptoms Affect Driving Skills

Parkinsonâs disease symptoms vary from patient to patient. They can range from mild to severe. But even in mild cases, common symptoms such as shaking in the arms, hands, or legs, impaired balance, and slowed physical and mental responses can affect driving skills.

Episodes of tremor, for example, often begin in a hand or a foot and can affect the ability to operate a carâs controls. Rigidity can result in jerky motions while steering. Slow movement can interfere with braking in heavy traffic or ability to quickly react to road hazards. Postural instability often results in a stooped posture in which the head is bowed and shoulders are drooped, further reducing driversâ awareness of their surroundings.

For many people with early Parkinsonâs disease, medications can reduce symptoms. But medications may have side effects, such as drowsiness, that can affect driving as well. It can be difficult for doctors to devise a medication plan that reduces the primary symptoms of Parkinsonâs disease and allows some patients to drive without causing side effects that make driving a car even more dangerous.

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