Safety is the utmost concern while you are on the road. As arthritis may affect your usual way of driving, you have to be more cautious and avoiding driving too fast. This is to ensure that you can have more time to react to the changing traffic conditions. Below are some considerations and pointers to help driving with arthritis smoothly and safely:
- Forgo driving in unfavorable weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow
- Choose not to drive on days when experiencing pain and accept ride offers from family or friends. Opt for public transportation where the destination is just a few blocks away from your house.
- Exercise caution when making left and right hand turns. Though not a symptom of arthritis, vision aspects are impaired by limited joint mobility in older people. At times, lack of depth perception can also causes accidents from surprise elements because of the slower reactions to these elements. Some of these elements include sudden appearance of other cars, unexpected changing traffic lights or kids on bikes.
- Do not rely on only the rear view mirror when changing lanes. Signal your intention early and turn your head to look for traffic approaching from behind or along the side.
- In parking buildings, try to find a spot where the vehicle can be parked and start off easily. (Try not to park in small and cramped car parks or on slopes). If walking is not a problem, try to park further away from your destination which is crowded, so that there are fewer pedestrians and cars to worry about when departing.
- Drive slowly in a parking building. Stop at every intersection using the appropriate common sense whether a stop sign is posted or not. Watch for drivers going through the parking building instead of up and down the lanes.
- Do not drive and use any electronic devices (especially mobile phone) at the same time. This can affect your concentration and failed to react to sudden or unexpected events.
- Try to avoid driving in the night as it reduces your visibility especially on raining days. Besides, damp weather causes your joints to be more painful and may ‘miss’ the brake when you need it. If possible, put off the errand to the following or other days. Otherwise, ask for a ride from your relative or friend.
Though driving with arthritis is not easy, it is still possible by introducing changes to your car and the routine of driving. By acknowledging your limitations, practicing road safety awareness and starting off early, you are more likely to feel relaxed and enjoyed your journey. Remember, it is your choice that determines your driving experience a great pleasure or just pain, stress and frustrations.