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By Eva On 2013.08.23 08:00
Hi everyone,

My husband has young onset PD and was diagnosed 7 years ago. We have always lived in places where we don't need to drive, but I just took a job that requires me to commute and we bought a car. It's not necessary for my husband to drive, but he wants to. We plan to take road trips to visit relatives, things like that, and he says it's more comfortable for him to be in the drivers seat, and sometimes mentions that it is more manly for him to drive, worries about our children never seeing him drive. I'm terrified!

When he's at the good part of his medicine cycle, he's fine, walks well, speaks clearly, but when he's not, he stumbles and is very difficult to understand. (We're working with his doctor to even this out.) I think I can keep him from driving when he's at the bad part of his medicine cycle, but I'm terrified of him driving even at the good part, his reaction time can't be good with all that medicine (he takes Percocet as well as PD medicine).

I should point out that I have always been terrified driving with him. He learned only a few years before being diagnosed, and I'm the awful kind of person that clutches the door handle in terror the whole time he's driving. Awful, I know -- and I've lost all credibility as a result! :)

What are your experiences with driving? Are there studies or articles about this that you have found helpful? Do you think it would help for him to take a defensive driving course?

Thanks so much!!! Eva

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.08.23 08:30
Eva, Hi and welcome to the forum. This is a touchy subject driving. I quit sriving years ago when I noticed my reflexes were slowing down to the point I wasn't stopping after braking as quickly. Others here will wade in I'm sure. I live in Western Massachusetts and a couple years ago in upstate New York a woman with Parkinson's Disease ran into a group of people outside a church killing 3! She was just taking a skip to the store and felt fine. She plea bargined and got 5 years probation with community service and can never drive again. But she has to live with placing driving privilege above the safty of herself and others. Also your insurance company has an out from paying because you are operating under the influance if prescription medication. As I said it's a hard topic and we've had threads before if you want to go back in the forum to read them while waiting for others to give their guidance. Again welcome

By jcoff012 On 2013.08.23 09:56
My husband was dx four years ago, but still drives. We have discussed this and have come to the conclusion that when his next renewal comes up, the DMV will most likely revoke his license. In the state of California, there is one question which needs to be answered honestly..."Are you now taking any prescription medication which would impede or impair your driving?" Enough said. I am not now afraid to drive with him, but he promises if he, like Al, feels it is time, or if I do, prior to his renewal, he will hand me the keys.

By carman96 On 2013.08.23 11:40
Hi Eva, this is one if the hardest things to go through. My husband got his license revoked last year because of the PD. I mostly drove for several years bafore that and he only drove short distances for years. His doctor told him not to drive but he still did.Then I asked his doctor about a handicap placard. The doctor put that he had PD and the dmv decided to test him. He could not pass the written test so that was that. Sometimes he still thinks he can drive so I had to hide the keys. He is still angry and thinks he can get his license back if he studies enough.
So you can try asking his Dr. if you can get away with it. It sucks to be the bad guy but better than killing himself or someone else.
Good luck

By olpilot On 2013.08.25 02:19
The decision to give up driving is a tough one, I know I posted this before but it's how I came to my decision.Olpilots World

Thursday, July 11, 2013
Parkinson's and driving

\Driving is hard to give up, especially for those of us who live several miles from a town, but when I scared myself I realized I had to stop. I was an airline pilot for 27 years, a Capt for about half of that time. I've dealt with many emergency situation but one day a few months ago I knew I had to limit my driving to as little as possible.I was drving home from about an hour away, maybe 40 minutes from home and in the oncoming lane I saw a car that was about to turn and cross my lane was about to be rear ended very hard. The car coming was oblivious to their being stopped and waiting to turn. I saw it coming, I had the cruise control on, and I froze, I didn't do anything to avoid it. All of a sudden it was happening in slow motion and I was watching from somewhere else, then right next to me BANG. Just as I got there they hit, I still had the cruise control on. Finally I hit the brakes, I spun out across the lane and intto the ditch. Had someone been coming I would have hit them. When I hit the brakes I just stopped moving, I couldn't respond. I just shook when I stopped in the ditch. Like I said I spent my life trained to handle much larger emergencies and I froze.I could say it's a fluke, maybe the meds, whatever but I know that something in my brain just shut down. The person I was, was no longer at the wheel. We live 6 miles out of town, my limit is anout 7 and only if I really have to. It takes every bit of my concentration to do that, and I still find myself drifting away from the task at hand. I know we are all different with this, but after I had to quit flying before we knew what was really going on I drove truck over the road ( worst job I ever had) I made myself a promise that I would never cause anyone to put one of those little white crosses by the side of the road. When I spun across that lane of traffic I realized that I could do that because of PD. I hate being tied to the house so much, but whether it's meds, or PD, or both the risk is getting to high. The other thing is now when it sit down for a few minutes I can't hardly stay awake, that includes behind the wheel. My wife now also tries to make sure I don't drive, she does every errand she can and I know how much it increases her work load.I'm 61 and went from flying a 4 engine passenger jet to very uncomfortable driving since 2006. I was dx 2 years ago. It's hard but the consequences could be harder. When the time comes that you or a loved on realizes you can't drive it's time to quit. My wife did see it coming well before I did, she completely wore out the imaginary brake peddle on here side of the car..

By stillunsure On 2013.08.26 14:03
I'ld like to weigh in on this one too. My husband, dx about 1 yr ago, still drives short distances (10 mi.) ... no more. However, one day about 2 wks ago, I had to see a physician in the city (I live in Long Island) for a torn rotator cuff, and since I was in alot of pain, my husband stated he was "perfectly able to drive" a distance of about 25 mi. as long as I was with him. Well, getting there was fine, but returning home was an entirely different story. He must have been fatigued, stressed, or all of the above, but when were about 5 mi. from home, he pulled over and made me drive the rest of the way as difficult as it was for me. He was shaking all over, dizzy, and feeling quite ill.

Unfortunately, he now realizes his driving days are coming to an end. I still can't believe this is happening, but am thankful I can still drive us most places. (Hope I haven't rambled too much).

Thanks all for being there.

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