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I was wondering if anyone has experience with a device that allows you to drive without using accelerator and brake pedal. I’m okay now but can envision that my foot numbness could be a problem. Thanks
@7510cahill – there is a post by @steeldove who I believe uses hand controls for driving. Here is the link to his post: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/comment/283906/bookmark/
Hi, @7510cahill – impressive you are thinking so far ahead and trying to prepare in case your foot numbness from neuropathy gets in the way of your driving with the usual foot pedals. Glad you connected with @johnbishop. Hoping that @jimhd @tonydez1967 @lorirenee1 @karen00 @phoenix0509 will have some input on any concerns they may have experienced related to driving with neuropathy and apparatuses that might make driving possible if the neuropathy makes it impossible at any point.
Will you share a bit more about the numbness you experience now in your feet, 7510cahill?
@7510cahill I tried the hand controls. It is an entirely different way of driving so you would need to take driver's lessons from someone qualified to do so. You would also need to get them installed on your vehicle. The simple ones can easily cost a thousand US dollars. The electronic that can be switched on and off so those who drive your car and do not have training in them can still use your car are much more expensive, but also easier to learn. The manual are bulky and so can only be used in large vehicles that will have the space. The other thing to think about is that neuropathy affects the whole nervous system. Thus your response time slows down. Slowed reflexes can lead to not being able to respond to bad driving situations. I did not want to face injuring or killing someone so I voluntarily gave up my license. That was also the recommendation of my doctor and occupational therapist. Doctors do not normally tell you their thoughts on you driving unless you ask. Only one state in the US gives immunity to doctors for reporting bad drivers so they usually are reticent to give any advice.
Hi, does anyone here use hand controls for driving? I wrote a while back wondering if it is safe to drive with a right numb foot and foot drop and many people said I should use hand controls. I could not afford them but needed to drive. My brother has paid for me to get them and I got them installed today (after training and lessons). Now, I am afraid to use them. Has anyone here gotten used to using them after being anxious about it? Thank you.
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Hello @nycgirl! Unfortunately, I do not use hand controls and can not offer help BUT, am sooo excited for you that I just had to congratulate you on having a way to drive!! 🤩 I'm sure others will step forward and provide advice.
My best wishes to you. I have confidence that you will conquer your fear and be on the road in no time at all. Take care, be safe.
Hello @nycgirl, You will notice that we merged your post with an existing discussion on using hand controls for driving. If you click the VIEW & REPLY button at the bottom of the email notification, it will take you to the discussion where you can meet @7510cahill and @steeldove who I believe can share their experience with you on using hand controls for driving.
I believe @steeldove uses the Kempf digital hand controls – https://www.kempf-usa.com/. You may also find the following patient story on the Foundation of Peripheral Neuropathy website helpful – A patient shares his experience with hand controlled driving: https://www.foundationforpn.org/2018/09/17/hand-controlled-driving/
Do you have someone that can take you to a place where you can practice driving with the hand controls like an empty parking lot?
@nycgirl Hi, I remember your name from when you posted before, back in July it looks like. I remember it because it made me think of my sister who lives in Manhattan.
I agree with Rachel, you just gotta get out there and DO IT. Is it possible for someone (your brother?) to take you out to a fairly deserted area or big empty parking lot somewhere so you can just drive around for a while until you get used to the new controls? Just go and keep going until you feel more comfortable using them. I feel so much admiration and respect for you for doing this because you need to for you family. I'm so sorry this covid nonsense has disrupted your life so much. Please take my very best wishes along on this new driving journey (and work journey) you are embarking on. Best, Hank
I don't mean my story to be applicable directly to your situation (my problem is my left foot rather than right), but might give you an "outside the box" idea.I have foot drop and large fiber neuropathy and radiculopathy, all affecting my left leg more than my right. The worst thing I did driving-wise was to leave the clinic that fitted me with a foot brace and try to drive myself home. The extra stiffness from the brace interfered with the limited control I still have in my left foot, and I was lucky to be in a place I could pull over and take it off. While I will probably need hand controls eventually, I want to put that off for awhile. Since the brace was immobilizing my left foot, I worked on driving using only my right, not really too much of a challenge with a modern automatic. And I trained myself to park my left foot on the "fake" pedal to the far left. I PRACTICED IN A LARGE EMPTY PARKING LOT, as I had as a teenager learning to drive a manual transmission VW Bug.
The other thing I did was try to find a different bracing solution. After an hour or so on Amazon, I ordered an "Adjustable Drop Foot Brace" sold by Qegeey. It has a cuff that Velcro's around my ankle and another velcro strip that attaches to my shoe laces and the ankle strap. It works better than I could have imagined, and has given me much better control of my left foot. That translates to a more natural correction of the foot drop, and makes driving less stressful, because there is still some flexibility. This was also much better for walking.
I plan to get by my car dealer (Subaru) sometime soon and ask about hand controls, and whether they know of any sources for financial assistance. If I find out anything useful, I'll post again.
One of the best web references for driving with hand controls I've found was on the "Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy" site (foundation for pn.org).
You're really smart to be thinking about this before you have an accident! Good luck with finding an adaptation that fits your needs.
Thanks for pointing out that driving can still be unsafe even with "adaptations." Not driving seems like such a huge step away from "normal" that I've been focusing on driving as long as possible. I'm just beginning see the sense of stopping before I feel like there's no choice.
@nycnycgirl what a strong person you are to be persistent in alternative ways to drive. I had to install special pedal extenders for my Subie outback stick shift cause my feet couldn’t reach the pedals comfortably. This was just before I was blessed with sciatica and now it hurts like hell to shift. I learned to drive using manual transmission and I like it especially for those Wisconsin winters. If I’d have known I’d end up with this pain I would have bought my first automatic but we’re talking 10 years ago now. I still beat myself up about it every time I drive which is infrequently because of the agoraphobia. Sorry to somehow turn this into the “all about me show”. My girlfriend’s husband (who just passed away suddenly at 50) used to sing her a song “ me me me, me me me me me). I think it’s the melody of one of the old detective shows that also says “just the facts, ma’am”. Thanks all for listening. @jesfactsmon
Don't get down on yourself, that's a great point you made. Stick shifts are probably not for most PN sufferers (or sciatica). Timing is everything, like you getting that manual right before the sciatica hit. Is it not uncanny how many times that happens in life? Ol' Murphy, always on the job! 😳 Hank
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