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Driving with MS

Hello

I work for the NHS as a Driving Adviser, assessing peoples medical fitness to drive and hopefully keeping people on the road. I am currently in the process of writing an academic essay on MS and its effects on driving, focusing more on things like fatigue rather than any physical impact.

I would be most grateful if anyone could give me some brief info on how they manage with their driving. Does fatigue effect you? If so, how does this impact on your driving? Do you tend to drive only at certain times of day or maybe avoid certain times? Do you ever drive if feeling fatigued?

Any info would be most grateful!

Thanks

fatigue makes me get lost!

even on routes i am familiar with.

i’m not driving now through my choice.

then again it’s dangerous as a pedestrian, the road outside my house is like the M6!

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I have PPMS. Although I had to exchange my licence for a 3 year one, driving is still the one thing I can do without any problems day or night. My worst symptom is fatigue but it doesnt interfere with my driving in any way. Probably as I am sitting down and supported. I dont even think about fatigue when driving. Too many bad drivers to concentrate on instead.

I drive almost everyday without any issues what so ever.

In fact I can be having problems walking but as soon as I get in the car, sit down, get comfortable, I’m back to “normal”.

When I pull over get out start walking the mobility / walking issues kicks off again.

So driving for me comes as a relief.

I have had massive fatigue problems in the last 2-3 years. Was diagnosed as RRMS in Feb last year. I also have no problems at all with driving. Its very odd, but as I love driving it suits me just fine.

Juls

My main problem with driving is the stress of coping with traffic. I rarely drive these days and I don’t miss it as driving isn’t something I’ve ever really enjoyed. When I do drive, I prefer to do it when the traffic is lighter. Driving even a comparatively short distance can leave me mentally tired. Although I don’t get physically tired, I might feel the effects if I drove for longer.

Same as scudger driving is no problem I enjoy in fact one off the few enjoyable things left

Me and my Rosie get around lovely ! My driving is perfect ask Mr FB… Driving for a long distance needs to have stops planned on route to allow me to walk and take a breather as my legs get painful. For various other symptoms as well a break is good. Completely agree driving is a relief and I always seem able to do so just fine. My fear is losing driving as for me and so many others its my independence and I feel like I’m still plugged into the world. Funnily enough I’ve just put new tyres on so Rosie is chomping at the bit to burn some rubber … Vroom …

I still drive, but now use an adapted automatic with a left foot accelerator (where the clutch is in a normal car). About 5 years ago, I had to switch to a regular automatic. Then about 3 years ago, I had to have the car adapted as I have virtually no feeling or movement in the right foot. I live in the Isle of Man, so never do long journeys here so fatigue isn’t an issue. When we visit the U.K., my wife does all the driving, so I don’t know if fatigue would affect me if I had to drive long distances. My bladder is very unreliable, so whenever we go to the UK, I have my detailed maps showing all the possible toilet stops on the journey. Derek

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I too, find driving gives some respite from many of my ms symptoms. I assess every day if I feel up to driving and, while I wouldn’t put myself or others at risk if I wasn’t feeling up to it, the general numbness etc that I have every day seem to fade out whilst I’m behind the wheel and I love that feeling of ‘normality’ again. After a long,or traffic laden, journey I am usually pretty exhausted, but every trip, in my opinion,is two fingers up to ms!

I gave up driving very soon after being diagnosed with RRMS in 1998 - I had a bad case of optic neuritis and found processing information difficult - especially at night on dark roads with the flickering street lamps as I passed by making me feel dizzy. My perception of distances and speed was also affected - and my response times - I got to the point where I wasn’t sure that I could deal with a hazard and get out of the way or slam the breaks on fast enough. I also had leg spasms and cramp which made me feel unsafe to drive. Fay

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Don’t know if I’m being over cautious but I feel uneasy answering questions like this to a complete stranger, even though he doesn’t know me just a little invasive or am I being to sensitive?.

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One thing you have to remember is that driving is like the rest of our MS - we are all different. The only places I feel normal are when driving or when at the computer. When you can compare someone who drives 30 miles a day in city traffic with someone who does 100 miles a day cross country, with someone else who does 200 miles a day on motorways, and adjust this for people who have driven for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years, then your questions make sense. All you can say is when you think that you should stop - then stop. Geoff

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Same! I end up turning down the wrong road or coming off the wrong exit on a roundabout even though I drive the same route everyday!

I don’t even bother to attempt to drive when I’m feeling badly fatigued! It’s a struggle just to lift up the handbrake sometimes lol!

Yes if I am honest my fatigue when it hits can affect my driving … mainly concentration so if I am very tired I don’t drive ! Times I find it hard are after a very busy day at work where I havent had any breaks between meetings , lots of queuing traffic ( get brake light "hypnotised "), when it’s dark . Things I do to make It easier …swapped to automatic with heated seats as that helps reduce stiffness , I stop more than used to on long journeys, I use the motorway to get to work it adds 25 miles a day but saves me at least an hours driving as it’s bumper to bumper through the city .

Reading the different experiences here is interesting.My wife is pretty much diagnosed with Ms i think but is waiting to see the ms specialist neuro and we will ask his opinion on her driving. Her initial symptoms and problems were following an accident at work which seemed to cause a shoulder injury which turned out to be neck damage and the pain and difficulty moving this has stopped her driving for almost 2 years now(our choice and judgement).Now the movement is better in neck but starting to think of buying small automatic to see if she could drive short trips when on a good day. Hadn’t thought of heated seats i will add that to the wishlist.

Dont forget if your wife is diagnosed with MS you will have to let the DVLA know & they will want to know how the ms affects her. They will also write to her doctor to get it confirmed. I’ve been diagnosed since 2005 & I’m on my 4th driving licence as they are renewed every 3 years but I think that’s changed to 5 years now I believe. Sharon x

Heated seats … Makes a huge difference to me as I get so stiff …I had them in my old old 4x4 and in a fit of I must be more economical and swap to a small car I let them go as I was offered a deal on one without them… immediately regretted it , 3 years later when I decided I couldn’t stand the little car anymore and I had done my penance and could go back to a 4x4 , (which ironically is easier for me to get in and out of ) …they were actually top of my list , wouldn’t look at a car without them. Cruise control also helps on long journeys

Thanks to everyone for your replies and input, its greatly appreciated.