The challenges of having peripheral neuropathy and getting behind the wheel is an issue only sufferers themselves can begin to come to terms with. Press the base of the foot on the gas pedal or the brake pedal and immediately a signal is sent to the brain to tell you how far your foot has pushed. Those with peripheral neuropathy, even in some mild cases, do not have the necessary luxury of that same signal working to tell us we’ve pushed on the brake, or we have accelerated adequately and now it’s time to take the foot off the gas.
So the big question is“can you drive with neuropathy?”
For reasons of safety, it is important that a car being driven by someone with peripheral neuropathy (PN) has it adapted to include hand controls instead of using the foot plates to accelerate or stop a vehicle.
The good news is that driving with peripheral neuropathy doesn’t have to mean forking out for a brand new, specially-adapted vehicle so you can feel the acceleration and stopping or slowing process our vehicles must take.
Disabled drivers with any number of conditions, missing limbs, diseases and some form of incapacitation are driving their adapted vehicles across Canada and the United States. The thing is we are not all built the same and neither are those with specific disabilities suffering from exactly the same challenges of peripheral neuropathy.
While one sufferer may have lost the feeling in the plantar and big toe, another may have the entire right foot devoid of all sensation. And what if you have one of those European style cars with a clutch pedal in addition to the accelerator and brake pedals?
We all know how to drive and which feet we need to use for what; so the first course of action is to contact a company which adapts autos to suit the need of an individual (yes such firms exist and in ever-growing numbers across the US and Canada) and inform them of:
- The name of your condition or disability
- The areas of your feet where the sensation and feeling is lacking
- Which pedals are just not fit for purpose (on you)
- How large you want the hand operated brake and acceleration devices to be
Adapt auto repair centres are in business to make driving easier for the disabled and those like you – with PN – and these auto repair and fitting centres often devote its entire service to helping adapting cars just like yours, so you can get back behind the wheel with confidence and drive safely once more.
Above are just a small amount of the hundreds of links to get your vehicle booked in for a refit of hand controls.
For those who are in the “do-it-yourself” spirit or can make arrangements for professional installation, please click here on DRIVING AIDS to shop or learn more a system that will work for you.