Driving Under The Influence….Of Multiple Sclerosis

Driving Under The Influence with MS

Is Our Head Really Into Operating A Vehicle?

I was driving the other day and noticed that I had driven past an area that I didn’t remember.  There are several stop signs and a few red lights within this area so my question was, did I stop at any of these? This got me to thinking, I am putting myself and others in danger by not driving with an alert clear mind?  This is scary!

For most of us, driving provides an independence that we just DON’T want to give up. Just the thought of having to depend on someone to take us wherever we want to go is bad enough but to do it on their schedule is worse. So this takes me to the next question, how many of us are driving when we really shouldn’t be?

Being in a MS fog, our cognitive activity is simply not functioning at its best. Then add on the fatigue that goes along with most MS symptoms and two combined is a deadly combination!  Just think about it, have you not ever slept well or had an extremely long day then you seem to forget simple things, burn food you are cooking, have trouble concentrating on things like reading a book, balancing your checkbook, or paying attention to a conversation? We all have and those aren’t even associated with any diseases, but add in the fog, fatigue, difficulty sleeping and we have really overloaded the brain to function with complete clarity. When you are in this state, do you get in a vehicle and start driving? You are opening yourself up to an accident possibly hurting or even killing yourself and others.  Are you driving while under the influence of medications that diminishes your ability to concentrate such as muscle relaxers or narcotics?

Even if you are being as careful as possible, all these factors can cause you not to be able to drive defensively. We can get caught up in a wreck that isn’t even our fault but because of our circumstances, we aren’t able to provide quick reflexes to avoid somebody else’s mistake. My husband use to say, “Be careful, it’s not you I worry about but all those other idiots on the road.” He is so correct! I hardly pass a car anymore where someone isn’t talking on the cell phone, eating while driving, putting on make- up, or God forbid – texting! For a few, all of these apply so no wonder we must drive defensively.

When we are under the influence of MS it is necessary to put safety first in everything we do which includes DRIVING! If a spouse, family member, or friend can’t drive you when you need to go, call a cab, catch a bus, or many locations provide transportation to and from doctor’s visits or even physical therapy. Whichever one you choose, you COULD BE SAVING A LIFE!


MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.