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.
Public Transport Concessions And Assistance Schemes
If you use public transport, you may be entitled to concessions and assistance where you live. Examples include local taxi schemes and rail/bus cards. Many rail companies, airports and airlines provide support to help passengers with disabilities but this usually need to be booked in advance. Your local Parkinsons group or disability organisation will be able to provide information on services available in your area.
See our Travel section for tips on using public transport if you decide not to drive on occasions.
If A Person Does Have To Stop Driving Because Of Their Pd What Alternative Means Of Transportation Are Available
We are finding that the most common way people get around after they stop driving is with the help of family and friends. However, this is not the only option. Public transportation is a viable option for many. However, using public transportation requires some of the same skills one needs for driving, such as planning the route, adhering to a schedule, and navigating. Therefore, while it can be quite useful, using public transportation may not be an option for some people with PD who have cognitive challenges.
Many municipalities offer programs that provide an alternative to driving for older adults or people with disabilities. These include buses or vans that pick you up and take you where you need to go at a discounted rate or a donation-based fee. Interestingly, in our work with older adults, many are not as inclined to use these services as much as one would expect. The services must be pre-scheduled and can sometimes be cumbersome to arrange . There is increased interest in ride-hailing applications such as Lyft and Uber. These services are easy to arrange without the need to plan far ahead of time. However, the technology can be viewed by some older adults as challenging, In addition, these services are typically more expensive than public ride programs offered by municipalities.
You May Like: Parkinson’s Foundation Kansas City
Can You Drive A Car With Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease involves a specific type of movement disorder, which significantly impairs an individuals driving skills and cause his/her safety concerns. Even the problem forces a large number of people suffering from parkinsons disease problem to stop driving their cars. Because of this, primary symptoms present in Parkinsons disease interfere seriously with one of the complicated tasks i.e. driving a car. These symptoms include the following-
- Tremor i.e. trembling in arms, hands, jaws, legs and head
- Rigidity i.e. stiffness in both trunk and limbs
- Slowness in body movements and
- Impaired balance or postural instability.
Along with this, a few people dealing with Parkinsons disease develops cognitive impairment, which includes defects in language, problem solving and language.
Driving With Parkinsons Disease: Exploring Lived Experience
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
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
3.1. Meaning and Significance of Driving
3.2. Driving Cessation
Driving And Parkinsons Disease
For some people with Parkinsons disease , there may come a time when it is no longer safe for them to drive. This is a very sensitive and fraught issue since for many people, driving is equated with independence, and people with PD may assume that relinquishing driving means a further narrowing and limiting of their world. However, with the right tools, a person can continue to be an active and engaged member of society without driving. Gabrielle Blenden, MSOT, OTR/L and Peggy Barco, OTD,OTR/L, CDRS, SCDCM, FAOTA are occupational therapists at Washington University School of Medicine Program in Occupational Therapy in St. Louis, Missouri, where they work at the Driving and Community Mobility Laboratory. They study the role of neurologic disease on driving and perform comprehensive driving evaluations to determine if a persons driving abilities are intact.
Together with the APDA Greater St. Louis Chapter, they designed a Driving Retirement Workshop a four-session program for people with PD and their families to help plan for maintained independence in the face of driving cessation.
Recently, I was able to ask Ms. Blenden and Dr. Barco about their work.
Ways To Monitor Driving Skills Of Parkinsons Disease Patients
Even if any independent evaluation highlights a patient may drive safely, it is essential to continue with monitoring the driving skills for detection of problems, which may result in any severe accident. For this, one should check key warning signs-
- Driving extremely slowly
- Stopping in huge traffic without any reason
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Getting lost while driving on a familiar route
- Difficulty in executing turns and changes of lanes
- Drifting to other traffic lanes or driving on the wrong side in street
- Forgetting to give signals or signal in an incorrect way
- Ignoring other vehicles, road hazards and pedestrians
- Parking in a no parking area or in an incorrect manner
- Feeling drowsiness or sleepy behind their wheels
- Frequently getting tickets or penalties for violating traffic rules
- Involving in nearby miss situations, accidents and fender benders.
Any of these signs may indicate the time to stop driving cars for parkinsons disease patients. It is very much essential to discuss the concerns with patients and their doctors.
Also Check: Caring For Someone With Parkinson’s Disease
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.
Who Determines If I Can Drive With Parkinsons
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.
Read Also: Does Jesse Jackson Have Parkinsons
Learn The Protocol For Your State
Colorado is not a medically mandated state. Its a self-reporting state, which means its up to you to assess whether or not you are fit to drive. With that said, Dittmar says that approximately 75% of the driving assessments she does are direct referrals from doctors.
Once Dittmar has completed a driving assessment, she sends the report to the drivers doctor and it gets linked back to the drivers DMV profile. The recommendations then become connected to a license.
These recommendations must be measurable. For example, some of the restrictions that could be placed on a driver include:
- Can only drive in daylight
- Can only drive within a certain radius of their home
- Can only drive below certain speeds
In some states, the report gets sent to the medical board. Contact the DMV in your state to learn more about how its done where you live.
How Dvla Makes A Decision About Drivers With Parkinsons
Once DVLA is told about a driver with Parkinsons well ask the driver for information about their condition. Well also talk to the healthcare professionals involved in their diagnosis and treatment – like their GP, consultant or specialist nurse.
Information we usually ask for includes details about how long the individual has had Parkinsons, the level of deterioration and any changes in treatment. All this information is crucial for us to be able to make an informed decision on whether they can continue to drive safely.
Where possible we always try to offer a driving licence to a driver with a medical condition, but only if its safe to do so. Our priority is to always maintain road safety for the driver and other road users.
For many drivers with medical conditions like Parkinsons, we might offer a short-term driving licence. This could be for one or three years. We tend to start going down this route when a drivers condition begins to deteriorate a longer term licence may be offered earlier on, with subsequent licence periods getting shorter over time.
For more information about driving with Parkinsons
Recommended Reading: Parkinson’s Multiple System Atrophy
Pd May Affect Cognitive Skills For Driving
People with PD may experience a . These skills are used when driving in complex environments, when conversing with a passenger, and when navigating to unfamiliar destinations. During navigation, drivers split their attention between driving or paying attention to changes in the environment and looking for navigational signs. A driver with PD may make driving errors while navigating.
Ruth Had Looked Forward To Going Away But Had Had To Disappoint Both Herself And Her Husband By
Last year we had got a wee towing caravan and, it worked out okay last year whenever we went away, I, I was fine. This year we were gonna go away a fortnight ago and we were going right till, up until the morning we were, we had planned to go and I just felt really terrible that morning. And I knew there would be no point in me going away because I knew I would have to come home again because I just felt bad, really bad, really down, very painful, very stressed. And I just thought, no its not, its not worth it. I just, I didnt want to go anywhere, so my husband and I ended up really kind of falling out because he had taken time off his work for us to go away and he had, you know, got everything ready and just at the last minute I just said, Look I really cant go. And he was saying, Oh, just come youll be fine. But I, I know myself that I wouldnt be if I went. I know theres no point in going when I feel like that, because I would just have to come back.
For advice on all aspects of driving the government has a very helpful website GOV.UK – see the disabled people section ‘Disability, equipment and transport’ which has information about public and community transport, adapting vehicles and options for buying or hiring cars, vehicle tax for disabled drivers and transport rights and details of the Blue Badge scheme. Also information about train and bus travel, bus passes and shopmobility.
Last reviewed May 2017.
Recommended Reading: Parkinson’s Disease And Eating Problems
Driving With Parkinsons Disease
A diagnosis of Parkinsons disease can bring a number of questions and challenges that affect every area of your life, particularly your mobility and independence behind the wheel. However, this progressive movement disorder doesnt mean that you need to stop driving immediately.
In this article, well discuss Parkinsons disease and how it can affect your driving ability. Then, well touch on the common challenges of driving with Parkinsons, how they can be overcome, and how you can work with a driving expert to confidently and safely extend your time behind the wheel.
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.
You May Like: Glutathione Injections For Parkinson’s
How Can I Talk To A Loved One About The Progression Of Their Driving
The ability to drive is an important component of self-esteem and independence for many.
Your loved one may therefore get very emotional once approached about the progression of their driving. You can first acknowledge their good behaviours and then share your concerns without making them feel guilty.
You and your loved one can determine a transitioning schedule together based on the appearance of warning signs indicating that they should stop driving.
If your loved one shows resistance, talk about potential risks for them and others if they continue driving unsafely. Finally, talk about it with their care team to get help.
With time, you may no longer be able to drive. You can use alternative means of transportation such as:
Tips For Families And Caregivers
If a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinsonâs disease — with or without associated cognitive impairment — certain day-to-day behavior can indicate an inability to drive safely. Watch carefully for the following signs:
- Poor coordination
- Difficulty judging distance and space
- Disorientation in familiar places
- Inability to handle multiple tasks
- Inattention to personal care
- Getting tickets for traffic violations
- Getting into near-miss situations, fender benders, or other accidents
Any of these warning signs could indicate that itâs time for your loved one to stop driving. Itâs important to discuss any concerns you have with your loved one and their doctor.
Don’t Miss: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Parkinson’s
If A Person Does Have To Stop Driving Because Of Their Pd What Strategies Can Help Them Maintain Their Independence
The COVID-19 crisis is teaching all of us about using alternative strategies that do not require driving to maintain independence for example, online ordering of groceries and medications, telehealth visits with our physicians, and new ways of connecting to our family and friends using technology. We undoubtedly will continue to use these resources even after the COVID-19 crisis ends and all these new strategies can help increase the independence of those who do not drive.
Driving A Vehicle Safely
Being able to drive a vehicle requires high levels of skill and ability. A driver either needs to be unaffected by a medical condition, or have a medical condition that is controlled so that symptoms are highly unlikely to cause any problems.
Sadly, Parkinsons is a progressive condition and deterioration is inevitable. Itll affect many activities, including driving. This is why it is so important that all drivers who are diagnosed with Parkinsons must tell DVLA. The rate of deterioration varies, but recognising that it will happen is important. It allows the patient and their family time to make plans for any lifestyle changes that may be necessary.
Knowing you will eventually lose the ability to drive is never easy to accept. But it may be more bearable if the person has time to adjust and plan alternative ways of travel. For example: public transport, taxis, or lifts from friends and relatives.
For professional drivers, who must demonstrate a greater level of fitness to drive, it may involve reviewing work options for the future.
Recommended Reading: Cleveland Clinic Parkinson’s Doctors