Hi,I seem to have lost my confidence in driving. I tried to go out this morning but just came home again. Does anyone else have this problem? Is there anything we can do or is it time to give up? Thanks
Best wishes Anna

Hi Anna I’ve been driving for years up till six years ago I want to drive again but lost all confidence. I’m thinking of taking a refresher course but I’m feeling nervous about the thought of doing it.

Yes, I sold my car as I didnt use it enough to justify the expenditure on road tax and insurance. I had it converted to hand controls too so quite sad to have given in.

Now I still have little confidence to go out on my own.. can blame it on the cold weather at the moment.


Hi Anna,

I believe it is time to stop driving when you feel you are a danger to others and yourself. But you have to be honest about it and judge yourself objectively. Ask yourself if you would like anyone to drive if you knew they felt the way you do ? If the answer is no, then it is time to give up your car…

I gave up driving 3 years ago and no refresher course could give me back my confidence or stop the uncontrolled movement of my arm… Or give me back my lost vision…or stop the drunken feeling…or…or…

It is a very hard thing to give up. I was a very independent person, but now I have to rely on everybody to go anywhere. We have to accept it as a fact of life we cannot change…

Best wishes to you!

Thank you Anthony,Patsy and Cicina, I know you’re right but it is so hard.
Best wishes to you and thanks.

My driver's license has revoked for the past 4 years. I can't drive anymore. So I no longer have a car. I now call my friends or a taxi for my transportation needs.

Im 80 yrs old and I still drive,I was having problems with my eyes with brightness but found glasses to help. I use a walker or forearm crutches .Once I stand up I make a big change and my brain acts up like I am drunk and I start with spasms that twist my neck and head this also happens in bed until I get to a comfortable position. Once I am sitting down my head clears so I dont have any problems with driving. my head also clears up if I walk on my heels for a little bit. it also clears up when I am in the hallway and lean against the wall to put myself at an angle I can walk better and have a clear head then. I just slide along the wall on my shoulder. I still do all the shopping so I hope I stay this way for a long while. Jerry

I knew the relationship with my car was coming to an end. Having always been a good driver, confidence had never been an issue–now it was. As I aged and my ataxia progressed, there were more visual changes*. I had already limited my car excursions**, but in my mind, that was no longer enough. I still had the judgement and cognitive ability to avoid being a careless driver, but not the visual precision and motor reflexes necessary to avoid the careless driver. I was happy to have anyone else drive, but the further loss of my independence was one more humiliation bullet to bite.

It doesn't matter what accident circumstances are. In our litigious society, a person with the overt disability will always be seen "at fault". One look at a walker in the back seat, and my soon-to-be former insurance company would just write the check. I had to face up to not only increasing the risk of injury, but threatening our financial security as well. My impaired mobility made it more difficult to respond to even a minor fender–bender.

The numbers just aren't in my favor. Demographically speaking, as this generation ages, there will be increasing numbers of impaired drivers, more traffic and (gulp) more cases of road rage. I'm definitely no match for an angry driver—couldn't even dial 9-1-1 fast enough.

As I pondered the 'Is it time?' question, I thought back on the reasons and timelines my parents gave up driving. Taking a senior's keys can be a major struggle. My mother would say she preferred not to drive as early as sixty. We thought there was no need and she just needed our support and encouragement. She never fessed up to being terrified behind the wheel. That was too big a threat to her self–esteem. Maybe it was an early manifestation of ataxia*** or lack of confidence, but I completely missed her fear and can only see it in retrospect. Sorry, Ada.

Lanny, Ada ('45–'96), Verda ('98–2008)

My father's second career had been with the Department of Motor Vehicles. He had often been put in the position of suggesting to an elder that it was time to surrender the driver's license. But since he had no authority, he could only refer back to the family or healthcare provider. The good news is that he just stopped driving when he no longer felt confident behind the wheel at all times of the day. The bad news is that he relinquished driving duties to his second wife, Verda. She was a lovely lady, but determined to maintain her independence at all cost and drive into her 90s (give me strength). Fortunately, no one was harmed in her four accidents. They were bizarre, but not lethal. The final straw came a year (2009) after my father died. I received a call from the police to come get my stepmother. It was five years ago and I was still ambulatory. Verda had driven to downtown Portland, became confused and lost. She gave up driving at 92 rather than endure any more of my wrath. But in her mind, it was voluntary and entirely her decision.

George, Theresa & Sons; with Earl '65; with Dorothy

Like Verda, Earl's father George didn't give up easily. He had navigated the LA freeway system for at least half a century and saw no reason to quit. Fate was on his side as well, as he neither sustained nor caused physical injury to himself or anyone else. "The concrete wall in the parking garage just got in my way." The best accident cause was "there was a slick spot on the freeway and I hit it." Really, Dad? His second wife, Dorothy, was scared to death (but willing) to ride in the car when George was driving. I realized then that logic often doesn't enter the equation when a person is facing a loss of freedom. Finally, reluctantly, and to everyone's relief, he surrendered his car keys. Then again, maybe Dorothy just hid them.

Since my carpool days are behind me, I'm accustomed to the optional nature of my driving. Becoming a non–driver puts even more burden on Earl, family, friends, and Sandie. Surrendering my license at this point in time might be premature (I can live with that), but 'too late' could be disastrous. Up until now, although Skeeter has been a form of transportation, she is primarily recreational. Now, she can go with me to my nail appointments, but I'll have to figure out something else for breakfast and haircuts.

The lesson: Cost benefit analysis: It's just not worth it. Is everyone relieved?

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I had to give up driving some 7 yrs ago. Realized one day when I got in the car and my leg movement was slow and I feared in an emergency situation that I could not count on myself to react correctly. I had always been the primary driver in my family and thought it would be difficult to give it up -- surprisingly it was not. In the final I just felt I did not want to harm others.

Schumant I don't think they like small cars like that in San Francisco, They just come along and turn them over for their fun.

Cicina is correct..Don't risk it, I drove thru a Red-Light because my leg would not lift to the brake pedal..So lucky no one was coming thru that intersection..I could have the death of some-one haunt me forever..

Think about it...Ozzy

I know, but it was so cute. If I had one, I'd treat it like my motorized scooter, but protected from the elements.

I’ve finished physio now they say I can’t improve any further. So now I go to the gym twice a week doing leg work .I have noticed a differents in strength and balance control but my issue is concentration and quickness of the brain. I bought a second hand scooter used it for the first time and realized I wasn’t concentrating where I was going. To busy noseing at everything else.

If you have an SCA.....Don't drive a car..And I worry bout' scooters as well.. I saw n' old bloke ignore the warning signs and drove into a freshly poured concrete car park n' they had to whinch him out...I pizt me self laughin'...

Hi, I’m the same, I haven’t driven in over two years, I’ve lost my confidence. Also I worry about when I get somewhere in the car and I’m on my own, I then have to walk on my own.

I know what you mean Beverley. I sometimes drive to the shop but haven’t got good enough balance to go in ! Don’t you love ataxia!

That is why they have canes, walkers, and crutches. If they are good enough for me then they are good enough for others. You cannot be ashamed to use aids how else am I going to tell if your drunk or not.

Hi, have the will to drive and I want to keep driving, but I know I shouldnt be. The problem for me is concentration, I go slow then fast, I put the wrong blinker on, I don't check to see if anyones merging beside me. I had a second MRI and now have been told my brain stem is shrinking as well a my cerebellum, I went to the geneticist yesterday, I should find out exactly what genetic disease I have in a few months. My specialist and geneticist do agree I shouldn't be driving, now I have to convince myself. It is awful that I have to stop driving, I am so independent, I love markets and shopping, going for a drive, and visiting relatives who live 3-5 hrs away. im only 47, it really sucks, I bought a brand new car 3 years ago, it only has 25,000 k's on it, before I new I was sick. Anyway - cant change it.

Yeah, I love my wheelie walker, so I don't look so strange when I walk, its better for me to balance and I have a place to put my things, instead of holding them. I find I don't have to concentrate so much on walking, if I have my walker.

gelu65 said:

That is why they have canes, walkers, and crutches. If they are good enough for me then they are good enough for others. You cannot be ashamed to use aids how else am I going to tell if your drunk or not.

My ataxia has made me cross eyed so whatever I see, I only see it with one eye. This makes it hard to judge distances so I could not drive. I'm surprised anybody with ataxia can drive.