Driving with Arthritis - Rheumatology Consultant London | Rheumatologist London | Dr Stephanie Barrett



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Driving after an arthritis diagnosis is something many people worry about. Whether new to driving or very experienced, a new diagnosis can be a worry. Here we’re looking at both vehicle and adaptive changes you can make to ensure driving is a safe and comfortable experience. First, we are looking at the legal position for those driving with an arthritic condition.

Where do I stand legally when Driving with Arthritis?

If you are not already driving when you receive an arthritis diagnosis, you need to declare the condition when applying with your provisional. You will need to pass the standard driving test but may be allowed additional time.

If you already have a driving licence when you receive your diagnosis, there are times you must inform the DVLA. If the illness affects your driving and has lasted for over three months, then you must contact the Drivers Medical Group at the DVLA.

Shopping for a Car

If you are looking to buy a new car after diagnosis, then there are some considerations to keep in mind. For ease and comfort look for cars with power-assisted steering and automatic gears. You may also want to consider moulded backrests, additional supportive head and neck rests and a padded cover for the steering wheel if you have issues with your hand and wrist joints.

Adapting your Driving for Comfort

As well as looking at new vehicles or updates to your current car, you can also change some elements of the way you drive for comfort. You should never drive tired anyway, but this is especially the case if your joints get more sore and painful due to this. You should always plan journeys carefully, making time to rest and stretch your legs to avoid joints seizing up or getting too stiff.

Most people with arthritis can continue to drive. Some may need adaptations to their cars but in most instances, it’s just a matter of adapting your approach.

If you have any concerns or want to discuss the impact of your condition on the rest of your life with a professional, you can contact Dr Barrett today.