Parkinson’s Disease is a severe medical condition. It is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects the movement of a person.
It severely affects a person’s physical mobility, especially in its later stages. Parkinson’s impacts many of the day-to-day activities that an otherwise able-bodied person performs regularly.
And, a large part of a person’s autonomy relies on one’s ability to get around by oneself. So, it is desirable to know, can you drive with Parkinson’s Disease?
This article will answer that question and provide more advice and information.
Can You Drive With Parkinson’s Disease?
This answer depends on multiple factors, in certain cases it is safe to drive with Parkinson’s. In other cases, it is unsafe at the point of onset of disease. It may become unsafe if you begin to experience and exhibit symptoms.
Although driving may seem like it does not require a lot of movement, since you simply sit and move the steering wheel, however, driving requires the ability to focus, adjust gears, use your reflexes and engage your nervous system at all times.
The Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can greatly affect the important aspects of driving.
Common symptoms include:
- Postural instability
The severeness of Parkinson’s and its symptoms vary from patient to patient. But how can it affect your driving skills?
As we have stated earlier, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include trembling. Such trembling often occurs at the hands, arms, or legs. This affects your steadiness which is crucial in driving.
Maintaining balance is also difficult when you have Parkinson’s disease. And driving with Parkinson’s also affects how reactive you are to road and driving hazards.
Related Factors that Affect your Driving
Parkinson’s disease alone is not the only thing that can affect your driving. Side effects of your medications may also play a role.
Certain Parkinson’s Disease medications can reduce the patient’s ability to drive safely. Medications such as carbidopa/levodopa (Sinemet), amantadine, dopamine agonists, and anticholinergics are those to watch out for.
These medications may produce side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, and confusion. However, patients may experience zero to no side effects on these medicines. It is also important to remember that their effects vary based on prescribed dosages.
Tips on Driving with Parkinson’s
There are many people with Parkinson’s disease who continue to drive safely even after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s for a long time.
If you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it is best to stay healthy, fit, and active. to be able to drive more safely. This helps you control your muscles more. It is also best to turn off distractions such as the radio while driving.
This does not mean that driving is ever easy with Parkinson’s disease. Although many people can drive safely with Parkinson’s, many people choose to stop because of it.
It’s important to consult with your doctor to determine a plan for driving and other activities.