We all love driving. The wind in our hair, the cool breeze on our cheeks, we drive so we can move from one place to another. It is the most convenient way of traveling—you get to decide where you go and how you get there. No fares, no delayed bus schedules, no hassles. Learning to drive can offer us the most freedom, responsibility and maturity from any of the skills we learn in life.  However, if you have an underlying health condition, you must check whether it can potentially affect your driving, or if it already is doing so. We all love driving but not at the expense of our safety and the safety of the people we may be carrying in the backseat.

How to know if your condition will affect your driving

If your health condition is affecting your extremities such as your hands, arms, feet, or legs, then there is a good deal of risk that it might affect your driving. Some health conditions affecting the back and the neck can likewise pose a risk to your driving fitness. Some diseases or health conditions will not have a drastic effect on the initial stages. However, as the disease progresses, if may catch you by surprise when one day you are no longer able to drive. It is best to consult your doctor as to your driving fitness as the disease progress to avoid any untoward incident.

Age-related diseases

Most health conditions that negatively affect driving fitness come with advance age. As a person ages, the skills needed to drive, as well as those needed to prevent or avoid accidents on the road, deteriorates with age. Your eyesight suffers and your hearing becomes impaired as you grow older. This negatively affects your ability to react quickly and correctly to every situation while driving.

There are a few diseases that come with age. Parkinson’s disease affects a person’s balance and ease of movement, greatly limiting the ability to control the steering wheel. Macular degeneration is a condition of the eye that results to distortion of central vision making it difficult for the person to read street signs, traffic signals, and other road hazards. Diabetes, a common disease among the elderly, leads to sleepiness, dizziness, and loss of focus, which can lead to drastic results if it happens while driving.

What to do

If you find that a previous condition has worsened or that you have developed a condition that will affect your driving skills, you must report this to the DVLA or Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Some conditions that are required to be reported include strokes, epilepsy attacks, physical disabilities, visual impairments, and other neurological health conditions. You must also consult your doctor on whether you are fit to drive. If your doctor decides that you are unfit for driving, you must surrender your license to the DVLA. Failure to surrender opens you to threat of fine, or worse, criminal prosecution if you figure in an accident while driving and you hurt someone else such as your family members, passengers, or pedestrians. Remember the adage—it is better to be safe rather than be sorry.

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One Comment

  1. mike roberts says:

    Debbie

    We should be encouraging people to only drive when they need to and not for the “pleasure” of which is common practice in most European counties. In the famous Mercedes advert the man, no gender issue but the advert, goes into the garage and takes out his bike to go to work leaving the car behind.

    The romantic attachment needs to be myth busted and will bring using different forms of getting to work etc tremendous health benefits.

    Labour should be having this debate nationwide but isn’t.

    Mike R

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