When to stop driving?

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Just J

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DX UMND/PLS
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01/2010
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US
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MD
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Havre de Grace
This may seem a silly question because I guess at some point everyone knows when to stop driving. My husband's symptoms are primarily in his lower half with left leg being the weakest. He is still driving but I worry if he will know when to stop. Eventually his right leg will not offer the proper reactionary time. I just hope he knows when to stop. Just wondering what others experiences were.
 

Marjorie R. Wilcox

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Nov 21, 2007
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10/2007
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Richmondville
To drive or not to drive

I am CALS for my husband who is a PALS. I noticed last spring that when he drove he hogged the center line on his lefthand bends. Now he takes all turns and bends too sharply. I have reminded him of the dangers of this, and so far he is able to compensate for the problem. Fortunately he listens to me and believes me. He is a little hurt, but since he isn't ready to give up driving, and the independance it gives, I can understand. He does not tailgate, and he pays close attention to his turns. I am now watching his reflexes. So far, he drives to the grocery store and to church by himself when I have to be at work. When we venture out into the city, for example, I take over the wheel. ALso, when he is tired, he hands over the keys. He is very aware of his limitations and pays attention to his body signals. Of course, I would not jeopardize the safety of others on the road...... and by the way, around here we have too many who are definately too old to be behind the wheel.... and many who drink when they drive, and are risky for whatever reason. MY husband is a cautious methodical driver.... and is prepared to give it up when that day comes. My best to all who read this. Greetings. Marjorie
 

JAKE

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Just,

I decided to let my wife start driving about 5 months ago. My reason was because of the concern I had in getting my foot off the accelerator and on to the brake quick enough. With the weakness I have in my legs, I didn't want to jeapordize anyone's life because of not being able to react quick enough. As far as driving a vehicle, other than that, I still would have no problem whatsoever. So my answer would be when you feel like there's a possibility your putting someone else's life at risk, it's time to give it up. The biggest problem I have now is that my wife, daughter and niece make me a nervous wreck riding with them at the wheel, lol.
 

gimpydad'slady

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My hubby gave up driving about 8 months ago. His father had installed a push start switch so he would only have to turn the ignition so far and then push to start. He only drove to the corner gas station when his friend worked, when I was at work. Shortly after the switch was installed he started having more issues with his hands and gave me the keys. He still has his drivers licsence, but doesn't drive anymore. We could have went the route of getting hand controls, and things of that nature, but he choice for us to get a conversion van, with me as the driver. I agree that most people know when to hand over the keys. My hubby did when he couldn't pull himself up into his truck by himself anymore.
 

BethU

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May 11, 2008
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AAA has a computer program that you can run at home from a CD, which evaluates driving skills ... response time, reflexes, peripheral vision, limb strength, etc. You have to do a little running around ... for instance, press a computer key, then run 10 feet, then back to the computer and press the key again. But mostly it's done just sitting at the computer responding to the screen, and you can do it privately at home.

I've been doing it once a year since it became available. It's designed for seniors, but should be helpful for PALS, too, to see if their skills, strength or response times are slowing, and if so, by how much. I think it's free if you're an AAA member. .

At the end of the program, it gives you an evaluation and points out any areas that need work. If your skills are weakening in some areas, I *think* it has suggestions on how to modify your driving to stay safe. It doesn't address problems specific to driving with ALS, but sometimes it's easier for a driver to receive an objective evaluation, rather than a spouse or child telling them, "It's time for you to stop driving."

Just a thought.
Good luck!
BethU
 

Just J

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Messages
300
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DX UMND/PLS
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01/2010
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Havre de Grace
Just,

I decided to let my wife start driving about 5 months ago. My reason was because of the concern I had in getting my foot off the accelerator and on to the brake quick enough. With the weakness I have in my legs, I didn't want to jeapordize anyone's life because of not being able to react quick enough. As far as driving a vehicle, other than that, I still would have no problem whatsoever. So my answer would be when you feel like there's a possibility your putting someone else's life at risk, it's time to give it up. The biggest problem I have now is that my wife, daughter and niece make me a nervous wreck riding with them at the wheel, lol.



Jake, I understand the nerousnous when others drive (my mother who is just plain old. old makes me car sick)...anyway, if you can't drive make sure to take some reading material with you to keep your eyes off the road :-D Thanks for your post.
 

Just J

Distinguished member
Joined
Oct 30, 2007
Messages
300
Reason
DX UMND/PLS
Diagnosis
01/2010
Country
US
State
MD
City
Havre de Grace
AAA has a computer program that you can run at home from a CD, which evaluates driving skills ... response time, reflexes, peripheral vision, limb strength, etc. You have to do a little running around ... for instance, press a computer key, then run 10 feet, then back to the computer and press the key again. But mostly it's done just sitting at the computer responding to the screen, and you can do it privately at home.

I've been doing it once a year since it became available. It's designed for seniors, but should be helpful for PALS, too, to see if their skills, strength or response times are slowing, and if so, by how much. I think it's free if you're an AAA member. .

At the end of the program, it gives you an evaluation and points out any areas that need work. If your skills are weakening in some areas, I *think* it has suggestions on how to modify your driving to stay safe. It doesn't address problems specific to driving with ALS, but sometimes it's easier for a driver to receive an objective evaluation, rather than a spouse or child telling them, "It's time for you to stop driving."

Just a thought.
Good luck!
BethU



Beth, thank you so much for this. I had to chuckle at the line "press a computer key, then run 10 feet, then back to the computer..." My hubbie couldn't do that now! But I belive he is ok driving for the time being. His walking is very slow and deliberate with most weakness in his left leg. Anyway, we are AAA members and I will look into this when I feel it is necessary b/c I don't think he will listen to me....I've been a back seat driver well before he had his mobility issues LOL!
 

trying to stay positive

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CALS
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08/2007
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US
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Illinois
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Chicago area
Hi JustJ,

This was a real tough one at my house. My PALS husband (DX 8/07) was not ready to give up driving. The last time I was in the car with him driving was the end of Feb. and when he had to make a hard right turn he could barely do it, due to limited arm strength and mobility. He is an excellent driver , but it was the first time I was ever uncomfortable with him behind the wheel. Since then I had refused to get in the car with him driving, much less our 15 year old daughter. His attitude was "fine....then don't."

As the months went by, he was progressing and the use of his arms and hands continued to lessen, as well as his legs weakening. In July I finally had to tell him no more driving, as I sincerely felt he was a danger to himself and others. He was NOT happy, and it was NOT pretty at our house for several days. Talk about an icy silence! He knew it was coming, though, and told me that he would have quit himself in a few more months.

It is a tough thing to give up. Most PALS seem to know when that time has come. Good luck and God Bless.

Linda
 

sharonca

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Nov 27, 2007
Messages
423
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PALS
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12/2007
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US
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CA
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Mentone
My time came last week. No more driving for me. Bummer.

Sharonca
 

John1

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NL
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Newfoundland
hand controls

If your arms and hands are still reasonably strong and flexible and only your legs have given up, then hand controls are a good way of extending your driving life. I can't walk anymore (perhaps a hundred feet or so with a walker) but my driving is fine. I have used hand controls in a dropped floor wheelchair van for a few years now.
 

Just J

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Joined
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Messages
300
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DX UMND/PLS
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01/2010
Country
US
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MD
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Havre de Grace
If your arms and hands are still reasonably strong and flexible and only your legs have given up, then hand controls are a good way of extending your driving life. I can't walk anymore (perhaps a hundred feet or so with a walker) but my driving is fine. I have used hand controls in a dropped floor wheelchair van for a few years now.



John, thank you very much. I hadn't even thought of hand controls. So far my husbands symptoms are isolated to his lower half so I will definately look into the hand controls when the time comes.
 

Zaphoon

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Aug 2, 2008
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2,855
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08/2011
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Missouri
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Springfield
I drive to homes to service pianos but I can barely get in the car due to stiffness. Driving for me may end simply because I can't do the Gumby thing anymore. My power steering went out when my serpentine belt broke and because of diminished strength in both my arms, it was a wonder I made it home the last few miles. Check your belts!
 

Maggie Miller

New member
Joined
Oct 29, 2007
Messages
6
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
11/2005
Country
MI
State
Michigan
City
East Lansing
Mee too

My time came last week. No more driving for me. Bummer.

Sharonca

I have a wonderful red Cabrio convertible sitting in the garage. Last time I took it out for errands, turning on the ignition was a major effort. By the time I got to errand 3 my hands were so exhausted that I had to get somebody to help me (I think they may have asked me to wait till they pulled out before I put it in gear!). I wear a neck brace for my floppy neck and find that turning the wheel to get out of parking spots is a major effort too. I do believe that my next move is to put my baby in the classified ads. Gheesch I hate this disease! Maggie
 

citytom

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Joined
Feb 2, 2007
Messages
31
Reason
PALS
Country
US
State
Florida
City
The Villages
My ALS symptoms got to the point that I had to lift my foot from the brake to gas and vise-versa. After a couple of close calls, I decided to get hand controls. They work great. They are easy to learn, are put in in one day, and cost about $1,000. My wife can also drive the car without using the hand controls. I'm able to be independent.
 
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