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Officially given up driving - thanks for replies

Thank you all for your advice, comments and suggestions, rather than reply individually I will explain further here.

I will be 56 years old on Saturday, I passed my driving test when I was 17 years old, didn't have a car of my own until I was 25 years old, and spent 30 years as a police officer, so confidence and experience in driving is not an issue, as I have driven many vehicles in many situations. I have also seen the results of incidents involving drivers who should have given up, and was determined not to be one of those statistics.  From 2007 I drove an automatic because of dropped foot and weakness in my left leg,  As that weakness spread to my left leg I drove shorter and shorter distances, I gave up my own car in January 2009 and my husband changed his car for an automatic so I could continue.

However, I am sure that now I could not get my right leg from accelerator to brake quickly enough.  As for a vehicle with hand controls, there hardly seems any point, as I can't go anywhere on my own, I need help in and out of the car and in and out of where ever I might be going, can't lift the mini scooter out of the boot,  not strong enough or sufficient balance to get my wheelchair out of the boot, or propel it myself, need somone to hold the crutches for me as I get out of the car, wouldn't be able to fill up with petrol, etc.

It's not the driving so much as the finality of it all.  I hadn't expected when I was diagnosed with "mild ms" which was later described by another neurologist as "slow" just six years later to be unable to live independently.

I might get a bigger scooter, as well as the mini one my husband dutifully lifts in and out of the boot for shopping  and pottering about locally, so that I can get further afield independently, but they and their drivers have had a lot of adverse publicity lately, and I am resisting because I am not old!! 

Know its hard, but i think you have made the right decision, i am in a similar position,and i think we know when to stop driving for our own and others safety,

my partner was trying his best to persuade me  to carry on  driving as he knows that it was the last bit of independance i had,but my reactions are not what they were, and havent been for a while now,i know 100% that i could not react quick enough in an accident,it still upsets me that i cant drive anymore,because i was a confident  and safe driver,but it was for the best i made the decision not to drive anymore and think to myself at least no one told me not to,i think that would have been even harder,to be told that i couldnt.

So as hard as it is to make these decisions, i think its up to us to know,when to draw the line.

 

Rather than give up/in, why not go for an NHS driving assessment?
I'm 58, and about three years ago I realised that my right foot drop and weakness meant that moving from accelerator to brake might be a problem. It was, when I let my car slowly roll into a wall!

After the incident, I didn't drive for several months as I knew it wasn't safe. A friend suggested an NHS driving assessment. They use a driving simulator and test limb ability, reflexes, vision etc. The assessor concluded that I would be safe with hand controls. She then took me out in their modified car driving around the hospital grounds. Before adapting my car with hand controls I took three hourly lessons with BSM on a modified car, just to be sure that I would feel/be safe. The instructor had me do several emergency stops. I didn't have any problems.
The assessment isn't a driving test. It only decides if you're safe to drive.
Like you, I can't walk without support and it's difficult to go anywhere on my own. I now, if I'm going to meet someone or visit I arrange that I will 'phone on arrival and he/she will give me support from the car, or lift my scooter or walker out of the boot. I just have to get over the embarrassment.
I only drive short distances, but it makes me feel good that I can.

John

And another thing! I arranged with my local petrol station that, when I arrive at the pump I just 'phone and somebody comes and fills the car. I then pay by card. I don't have to get out of the car!

John

Hi Flowerpot,

I think we all dread losing our independence and yes it is very hard to accept that we can't do what we used to be able to do so easily.  I've had my car completely adapted so that is it all electrically controlled for a ramp to come down so I can enter in my wheelchair, the seat then turns so I can transfer and it brings me into the driving position.  I have hand controls, but my feet are still able to respond quickly but I opted for an automatic, just in case.  My inability to walk stems from insufficient oxygen circulating around my body so that I am exhausted by the effort.  I can do almost anything from a seated position.

But like you I think we all know that there comes a time when yes it is time to call it a day however sad that makes us.  Ultimately for me it is the safety of others that counts and I'll certainly make my decision on those ground when my time comes. 

I have campaigned for scooter tests for people so they become proficient in driving these.  The reason for this is that I used to be able to walk until I was knocked down by a person driving a mobility scooter which went out of control in a store (they simply drove away from the scene, calling back "you'll be alright I used to be a nurse").  This accident damaged both my legs and knocked out mt back teeth.  It put me in hospital, pneumonia developed and I had a major MS relapse (8 weeks in hospital and 6 months recouperating) and ended up as a permanent  wheelchair user.  Lift can be a real S**T.

So yes the safety of others is top of my list and if you have made your decision based on this then I salute you.  A brave and wise decision.

(((((Hugs)))))) Mary