GBS and driving question

    • December 16, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      I have a general question I am hoping some of you can help me out with. I was dx’d with gbs on Oct 8th 2010. In the last 3 weeks I have begun driving myself to Therapy, short trips around town. Although I still have a significant amount of upper body weakness, I do feel comfortable behind the wheel and most of all safe for my own well being and those around me.

      When I asked my nuero back in late November he said “If you feel up to it,do it” About a week later I showed up at Therapy and they said if I were to get in an accident insurance would hang me out to dry. I asked if there is a process or something specific I need to do and I did not get anything in the way of feedback.

      It’s been big boost for my independence to get back behind the wheel and not have to rely on family. The state gave me a temporary placard for handicapped parking so I assume I am OK.

      I would appreciate your feedback on this subject.


    • Anonymous
      December 16, 2010 at 4:09 pm

      I have not heard of this being a problem. If the state has revoked your license or if a doctor states you should not drive then it may be a problem. I would suggest a phone call to your doctor. Oh, and my the way great to hear your are feeling good enough to drive. Keep up the good work.

    • Anonymous
      December 16, 2010 at 4:15 pm

      Did your reflexes come back? That would be the only thing I would worry about, if you need to react quickly. Although come to think of it, I was driving with mild GBS and at one point, I had no reflexes. 😉

      I think you know your limitations and if you feel like you can drive and react quickly to other drivers, then I wouldn’t listen to a therapist. I work in insurance and auto insurance follows the car not the driver. I don’t think that you would have any problems with coverage for liability, unless a doc specifically prohibited you from driving, and even so, it would probably still be covered. I love how physical therapists are always giving medical advice and apparently, now it has moved on to insurance advice! Classic!

    • December 17, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      My knee reflexes although diminished have come back some, not much going on in terms of ankle reflexes yet. Very good to hear the perspective from someone in the insurance industry. I feel much better now. I called my GP and he gave similar feedback to the nuero “recognize your limitations but I see no problem with limited driving”

      Jessica you are correct about all the advice. At times it seems almost as frustrating as the physical limitations we are working through. Everyone has an opinion and sometimes it seems like the advice we get is nothing more than opinions when it should be fact based. Seriosly I felt like saying what should I do? Sit on the couch until the Taxi comes to pick me up for Therapy.
      No Thanks!

      You guys have helped alot here.

      Thanks much

    • Anonymous
      December 17, 2010 at 1:53 pm

      Drive yourself somewhere else for therapy.

    • Anonymous
      December 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm

      My doc says he won’t clear me to drive until I go to a special place in Denver that has a simulator. I have no reflexes back yet, it’s been 17 1/2 months.


    • Anonymous
      December 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm

      Stop worrying about this or that and as long as you feel confortable behind the wheel DRIVE GIRL. Also the less that know the better you are because there is always a do gooder with their nose in every ones business that will cause you a problem. Your doctor sounds like he only see’e $ signs. How STUPID to send you someplace to drive a simulater. Find someone who cares about you and not their wallet. Zip your lips stop worrying. You have been given a blessing enjoy it. (HAPPY NEW YEARS) [/COLOR][/SIZE]

    • Anonymous
      December 29, 2010 at 7:13 pm

      Well after 2years i went for driving lessons to learn how to drive with hand controls.I can not feel anything in my feet so i could not brake or use gas petal.I feel this has been the best for myself as well to keep everyone else safe.I had my vehicle done by a shop.My brake and gas are on the colum.And a plate has been put over the gas.Anyone else may drive they just remove plate.I also have afo’s so it does make a difference.Good luck.

    • Anonymous
      December 29, 2010 at 7:35 pm

      The reflexes one has (or not) in the knees, feet, and arms when a doctor hits, strokes, or pokes the tested area have little to do with the “reflexes” necessary for driving. The type a doctor tests for is an involuntary reflex. The types one needs for driving are voluntary reflexes, but ones you don’t really think about. An example is ducking when something comes flying by your head.

      It is true those recovering from GBS probably have slower voluntary reflexes than the general population. However, there are compensation mechanisms that can be used, such as driving a bit slower (not enough to impede traffic), planning the route carefully, picking times with less traffic, and avoiding distractions.

      I found this link on medical guidelines and driving: [URL=]. You might find it helpful to look at the sections on physical limitations and on multiple sclerosis.

      Godspeed in your recovery,

    • Anonymous
      December 29, 2010 at 9:41 pm

      I don’t have any control over my ankles or feet. I have looked at hand controls online. How much did that run you, Magee? So far, I haven’t made an appointment for the simulator because of $ (totally not into my Dr’s pocket), time, and because I thought I might recover fully.:D

      Mark, thanks for the article! Will make for great reading later tonight!;)

      I would love the independence of driving, especially to get the kids to school or go to the pool. I’m still getting stronger. Couldn’t get a wheelchair out of the van yet, but I could use my walker with a seat…

      Very thought provoking, thanks!

    • Anonymous
      December 30, 2010 at 2:20 am

      I’ve been driving w/cidp for 17+ years now and while I can’t walk, I can drive. My doctor said part of the reason is I already knew ‘how’ to drive. I estimate my ‘feeling’ range at about 40%-60%, however I do plan my trips with great care to avoid ‘rush hour’ and I like to use the roads less traveled.
      I recently added a $1,000,000.00 ‘umbrella policy’ to my insurance, it picks up up where my all my regular policies leave off. I don’t feel like I’m a danger on the road but if anything did happen and I’m the guy – not at fault – and there’s a set of crutches and a power wheelchair in my van, and I can’t walk ~ well, I think an attorney would try to make some hay out of that.
      I wouldn’t want to lose ‘everything’ I’ve worked for and my understanding is that if you lose, a lot of your assets can be ‘at risk’. I don’t recall the premium but I had to rearrange some of my policies in order to get the umbrella coverage.
      In general, I think it’s a good idea for me, and maybe worth looking into. Best of luck to all you drivers ~ its a tough call. Relying on others is not something I like to do but I’ve got a brain and their are days when I don’t think I should drive or it’s wise to ask for help. “A man with out a car is like a cowboy without a horse” old quote, I heard somewhere.

    • Anonymous
      December 30, 2010 at 1:52 pm

      I didnt wait for permision . I just drove. You are the only one that knows if you can or can not drive safely.

    • Anonymous
      December 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm

      Allsmiles driving lessons are from a certified instructor through the rehab hospital.Then he writes a perscription for whatever a persons limitations are.Then we went to a shop that installed equipment that was needed.I do believe that is why your Dr.wants you to use the simulator.That is probably your place to start.Many insurances may help pay for lessons etc.I think i paid all out of pocket.About 1500.00.Being positive is good.I know i felt more in control when i was able to drive.

    • Anonymous
      December 31, 2010 at 11:05 pm

      My ankle reflexes are non existant , i was diagnosed with gbs aug 08 and my neuro gave me the all clear to drive 3 months later even though i needed 2 crutches to walk, even now there a days i get my husband to drive because im not up to it. I trip over easily without my crutch, i thought it was because of no ankle reflexes , still have lot of weakness in legs and feet . My neuro said id prob never get ankle reflexes back and i asked him if it mattered, he said no. I remember when i first drove again and i was really nervous but it was a big boost to my confidence. It helps to have a handicapped parking sticker ,dont need it everytime i go shopping but there are days when im dragging my feet. Good luck to anyone out there who is driving again for the first time after being diag with gbs.:)

    • Anonymous
      January 12, 2011 at 12:08 am

      I had my driver’s license revoked Sept. of 2002 when we first applied for a handicapped placard. I was unable to walk, totally numb yet & had no real use of my hands. I began to walk again the summer of 2004 with AFOs & a cane, still use those. In Feb of 2005, with a letter in hand from my neuro, I went into the DMV & took the permit test & the driving test, passed both with no problem. But then I used to teach driver’s ed, so I knew the book by heart as well as the routes for the actual driving test. I still have lower legs & feet that are about 70% numb, still wear AFOs & no reflexes. But I only drive locally & live in a small town.

    • Anonymous
      January 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      My wife was diagnosed on Step 22 2010 and was on a vent a few days later. She is back to driving around now. When she started driving, her upper body was weak but it was good PT & OT. I just made sure I was with her for the first week or so until I knew she was confident and comfortable. 🙂