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tonibunny
14th September 2004, 01:10 PM
Hi everyone,

This question is aimed at those of you who have a noticeable loss of movement in your back etc, due to your curves, fusions, or muscle spasms.....

I'm planning on learning to drive soon, and am worried that my back will cause problems for me - ie, I find it very difficult to twist round, or even to turn my head fully, and my left arm and shoulder are very very weak due to all the costoplasties I've had done on that side.

I'm worried that this will cause problems when parking (ie if I need to twist round to see out of the back window), or when using a stiff gearstick (we have right-hand drive cars here in the UK remember). I'm also very short in the torso, so I can barely see over the steering wheel when I sit down in certain cars!

Has anyone found that their scoliosis has impacted their driving? If so, how have you dealt with this? Any recommendations as to what makes a good car seat, whether power-steering is a must, etc?

Thanks!
Toni xxx

floralgypsy
14th September 2004, 01:32 PM
Originally posted by tonibunny@Sep 14 2004, 01:10 PM
This question is aimed at those of you who have a noticeable loss of movement in your back etc, due to your curves, fusions, or muscle spasms.....
I haven't go noticeable loss of movement but I thought I would mention something anyway. Since surgery (I was driving for over a year before) I can't sit in a car seat comfortably for more than an hour and a half because it starts to make my lower back ache and I need to fidgit. I just wanted to warn you of this because when you start driving long distances on lessons, I didn't want you to be concerned if you felt the same. My lower backpain will almost disappear after a 15-minute break and walk around.

tonibunny
14th September 2004, 01:36 PM
Thanks Charlotte, this is just the sort of stuff I need to know! :)

DublinPauline
14th September 2004, 02:10 PM
Toni, I have very limited range of movement in my neck, especially to the left, so turning around to check behind when reversing, etc, can be a problem. I am very fond of my wing mirrors, especially the one on the passenger side. :-)
I probably relied on the rear view and wing mirrors in my driving test in but tried to look like I was also actually looking behind, if you know what I mean.
If it was a real problem, I would imagine that you could state this in advance of doing your test?
I always need to use a cushion when I'm driving!

mark
14th September 2004, 02:17 PM
I spend a lot of time on the road in my job and i get pain at the base of my spine and my the middle of my back, i can not have the seat in a totally upright position as this pushes my shoulders and head too far forward to drive in a comfortable position, so if i am driving Justines car she goes nuts because she does not like her seat position being altered.

BlueIce
14th September 2004, 02:39 PM
I just started driving a few days ago, but I had my license over a year before surgery. At first it was really weird because my position was totally different but adjusting to that didn't take long. I never really had the habit of looking out of the back window, I use the mirrors.
I don't know what power-steering is, but if this is what we call "servo" than it definatly is usefull. (Or maybe this is because I lost a lot of strenght in my arms after surgery)

sins
14th September 2004, 03:18 PM
I know what you mean about a short torso........
Choose your car carefully (funds permitting).My car has height adjustable seats,electric everything, height adjustable steering and power steering.Power steering is 100% essential.I have limited flexibility when turning my head to the left but it's never a problem as we drive on the left hand side in UK/Ireland.Before buying a car take it for a long drive before driving......a 20 min test drive is no good.I have a Renault scenic which is a bit on the big side but excellent height for sliding babies in and out of without straining your back as you don't need to bend.For smaller cars check out Renault Clio which is very user adjustable or the Toyota Yaris which is high up and should offer the advantages that the scenic has.Newer renaults have the gearstick on the dashboard which feels a little weird but can eliminate the need to stretch.Volkswagens and vauxhalls cripple me unfortunately!
Sins

titch
14th September 2004, 03:31 PM
I would think power steering is a must - 2c reckons there's no way that I would be able to drive even our little Saxo, because although it's light on the steering, it's still a fight when it comes to parallel parking.

Seat wise, and ride wise, I actually find sporty cars to be the best. Consistently the most comfortable seats are contoured sports seats, and I discovered doing a fairly long round trip with et in his Impreza that a stiff ride is no problem at all for me - after 200+ miles in the Scooby, I felt better than I normally do after 100 in the Saxo.

We went on a car seat testing spree a few months ago, which was interesting in terms of results. We found for example that a new Polo would be out of the question - I simply couldn't reach far enough to get it into reverse :-o Very strange gearbox! I hated every Peugot I sat in - the whole range currently comes with one, rubbish, seat - where a lot of brands offer different seating on the higher end versions of each model, not Peugot. Added to which, I couldn't look over my left shoulder in them, and the pedal/steering wheel is displaced - it's as though the steering wheel is too far to the centre of the car, which twisted me painfully.

Because I have ludicrously long legs and my left leg is still somewhat weak and disobedient, I find it difficult to get in and out of compact cars, and between that and the short body, there's quite a few I just can't work out a way to sit properly in - ideally you need a car that has significant seat height, tilt, and backrest tilt adjustment available, as well as good steering wheel height and rake adjustment. Cars that got the thumbs up for a combination of comfort, adjustment, and visibility from me were Mercedes A Class, Honda Civic (especially the Type S) and Jazz, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Toyota Rav4 (and in fact most similar cars), Mazda M3, one of the Volvos (S45 or something? can't remember - huge thing though) and Lexus IS 200. The latter was by far my favourite - everything was just where I wanted it, and the seat was simply fantastic. Unfortunately, they don't clear 30 to the gallon, so really not practical enough considering the kind of mileage 2c and I do.

ivanleg
14th September 2004, 04:05 PM
Why does everyone in Australia and the UK hate automatic gearboxes? I've always driven them, not because of my back but because I'm too lazy to change gears. It would eliminate any problems you might have reaching for a gearstick for a start.
As for looking out the back window, do what everybody else does; put the indicator on, look in the rear view mirror and make a perfunctory motion with your head to show that you thought about looking backwards. If you can only manage a 2 degree head rotation that's roughly what most people bother with anyway.
Seriously though. assuming you have some lessons with an instructor you can ask him/her about the head turning thing - you're not the only one to have problems with this.
My mum got her licence when she was in her mid 40s; I reckon you'll be fine. ;-)

Kaja
14th September 2004, 04:18 PM
What's power steering?

As I'm only 15, I don't have any advice for you :P But good luck!

And why do you hate auto gear? :D We have it on our car, and I guess 1/3 of all cars have it here.

Blair
14th September 2004, 04:32 PM
It hasn't caused me a whole lot of problems. But yes, It did affect my driving... I'm ok in my Jeep, but that's because it practically has NO blind spots- I only have to turn my head a little and I can see what is around me. In my mom's car, my sister's car, etc... I have trouble. Generally speaking, the higher up I'm sitting, the better I do...
Bucket seats about kill me. I have a rotten time trying to get out of them. Another reason I love my Jeep. I find I'm way clumsier trying to get in and out of a car than a jeep. I actually have knocked the plastic interior part off of my old Buick from struggling to get in and out of the car (a combo of a bad left knee and mussed up back). Also, if the seats can't be sat up to a 90 degree angle, I am not a happy camper. Straight up and down, and with a slightly forward head rest so I can actually lean my head back a little without looking at the cieling....

Amazed Jean
14th September 2004, 05:57 PM
Congratulations on driving. Slow Down! Sorry its the Mom in me! I have a kid that drives like she is possessed.Her driving record shows it.
Comfort while driving - I agree bucket seats suck! So we don't own cars with them. I look for cars with electric adjustable seats that move really far up and down and front and back. We also try to find adjustable steering wheel and electric mirrors. I'm barely 4'8" tall and very short torso and I have a almost 6 foot tall husband so the seats and mirrors are always moved around a lot. I have always carried a cushion to sit on. Each of our cars have one in it. Mine is about 14"square and 3 or 4 inches thick. They are really called boat seats that we bought at the sporting goods store. They say that they'll float too. Thank God! I haven't ever had to test that out! The boat seats that we have bought always have vinyl covering on them. Yuck to sit on so I cover the cushions with sturdy fabric that kinda matches the interior or is neutral. One of my cushions is 25 years old. I just keep recovering it. Its more convenient to have a cushion in each of our cars so if my husband forgets to throw the cushion in mine and goes off to work, I'm not stuck at home trying to pile pillows up to drive. My neck does restrict looking backwards, I turn as much as I can and rely heavily on the mirrors. I wouldn't own a car without power steering, power brakes and auto transmission - however I have driven themin a pinch. They wear me out Fast! Currently I own a 12 year old Mini van. I know its old but it has power everything and still looks ok. Hey, don't laugh Its Paid For and Insurance is cheap. We also own a 4 door Cutlass and my husband drives a "dually" crew cab pick up. (I've driven it but hate to. Its so wide that I'm afraid I'll drive over little cars. If I have a choice - its the mini van It sits high enough. It doesn't have air bags either. I'm afraid those will decapitate me if they ever go off. Also I am allowed to drive with portable oxygen but airlines are not quite cool. We called our favorite airline and they said they don't allow people to fly with O2. I'll fight that fight another day. Just you drive safe!

floralgypsy
14th September 2004, 06:14 PM
Get one with a girlie button! You need no strength at all to turn my steering wheel when the girlie button is pressed ;-) I'll let you try it next time I see you if you like. :-P

jfkimberly
14th September 2004, 08:14 PM
Absolutely, what everybody said! Automatic transmission, power steering, motorized adjustable seats and a cushion... here's one thing more: power-remote "wing" mirrors. I use them for parellel parking... I just point them at the ground so I can see where the curb is, then right them again after I've parked... since I can't turn my head very well, it's quite handy to use the mirrors for knowing where I'm at.

I recommend a smaller car, too. And definitely take it for a lengthy test drive before you buy it. Try doing all the things with it that you'd do in the course of your day.

floralgypsy
14th September 2004, 09:04 PM
Originally posted by jfkimberly@Sep 14 2004, 08:14 PM
Absolutely, what everybody said! Automatic transmission, power steering, motorized adjustable seats and a cushion... here's one thing more: power-remote "wing" mirrors. I use them for parellel parking... I just point them at the ground so I can see where the curb is, then right them again after I've parked... since I can't turn my head very well, it's quite handy to use the mirrors for knowing where I'm at.

...and a girlie button ;-)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v46/Char...irliebutton.jpg (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v46/CharlotteE/girliebutton.jpg)

jfkimberly
14th September 2004, 11:13 PM
What's it do? Make the power-steering even easier?

Jonny
14th September 2004, 11:19 PM
Apparently so - I wasn't allowed to press it, pain of death. :oops:

sins
14th September 2004, 11:22 PM
A girlie button? I'm surprised you haven't tried to pierce it or something!! :-D personally I'd prefer my car with a turret on top with full automatic weapons, telescopic lens and rocket launcher.You get days like that!! :evil:
perhaps I should buy one of those Bradley armoured vehicles.........amphibious of course for the Irish weather.I'd love the looks one would get from the co workers in the car park at 8.am :shock: (Don't mind me.....it'll pass ) :ignore:

Joy
15th September 2004, 04:50 AM
I'm learning to drive soon too. When I got my liscence they gave me the speil about how I'm legally required to disclose any medical conditions that may impact my driving ability but when I tried to explain about my back they just kind of gave me a weird look and wouldn't write it down. I really hope I'm not breaking any laws...

Amazed Jean
15th September 2004, 07:10 AM
Once when I renewed my license the lady at the counter kept saying, "You're handicapped! - You're handicapped. I have to put it on your license." So I asked her if I could get a "Handicapped" tag for my car, her response was (I swear) "No, your're NOT handicapped." After about one second she realized what she said, and my license still says nothing about a handicap. Oddly enough, I now have a Handicapped tag so I can use the "good" parking spaces because my mother lives with us and has a bum knee. I don't know why I didn't want the handicapped designation on my license, I guess I just don't want to be thought of that way.

jfkimberly
15th September 2004, 08:43 AM
amazed:

Since you're on O2, you should have a hang tag for yourself if you want one. I have one, and I'm not on O2! Just get the form from your department of motor vehicles, and take it with you to your next medical appointment. Your doctor can certify that you have an impairment, and then you take the form back to the DMV to get the tag.

I've never heard of a "handicap" designation on the driver's license. What does it look like and/or say? Was the woman trying to assign some kind of restrictions to when you can drive? As far as I can tell, the only thing they indicate on the licenses here in Arkansas is whether or not you need corrective lenses for vision problems (which I do).

Oh, and the woman who kept saying "You're handicapped!" sounds incredibly rude.


Joy:

You disclosed your back problem. If they didn't write it down, then they didn't think it was significant. You're not breaking any laws. (Quit being so serious! *smile*)

lucinda
15th September 2004, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by ivanleg@Sep 14 2004, 03:05 PM
Why does everyone in Australia and the UK hate automatic gearboxes? I've always driven them, not because of my back but because I'm too lazy to change gears. It would eliminate any problems you might have reaching for a gearstick for a start.
Hey! This little Aussie girl adores her automatic transmission!

I don't really have anything else to add to this thread Toni, as the problems I have and what I do to fix them have all been said already .. but if you are getting a second hand car, I really think you should get an automatic transmission. Some of the newer type manual models can be okay to drive, but the older manual ones (I'm thinking of my first car, a 1980 Corolla) are absolute horror for long distance driving!

sins
15th September 2004, 11:09 AM
Automatic cars are great Toni, but as you're just learning to drive and you do your test in an automatic car your licence will only permit you to drive automatic cars.I presume it's the same system in Uk as Ireland.
For some crazy reason automatic cars are SO much more expensive in Europe and it's difficult to actaully find a good second hand one.
Sins

tonibunny
15th September 2004, 11:19 AM
I've been thinking carefully about just learning to drive an automatic, but think I'd like to try "full" driving if I can, as I'd ultimately have a wider range of cars to buy from. I'll see how it goes though!

Thanks for your comments everyone.....they are really helpful :)

Toni xx

mark
15th September 2004, 11:34 AM
Yes sins your right if learn to drive and pass your test in an automatic your only allowed to drive an automatic

In the UK that is

Blair
15th September 2004, 11:47 AM
Hrm... Well, then... I think perhaps Toni should move to the US... ;-) You can drive whatever you want! And automatic transmissions for good prices are a dime a dozen!
I learned to drive in an automatic. It was hillarious when my mom tried to teach me to drive my sister's stick. I didn't stall it out, but there was a LOT of cussing on my part.

lucinda
15th September 2004, 12:20 PM
Oh yes! It is the same in Australia as what it is in the UK .. I thought you were all talking about what type of car to purchase, not to learn to drive in. Sorry!

jfkimberly
15th September 2004, 05:14 PM
Automatics are easier to find than manual transmissions here. Everybody wants the convenience.

Toni: I am quite proficient with a manual transmission... and if I can do it, then I know you will be able to. The car I'm currently driving is an automatic, but my favorite car that I've owned (may it rest in pieces *sigh*) was a manual. (NOTE: The accident was not my fault, and I was not harmed at all thanks to the airbag, seatbelt, and "crumple zone"... but my car was a total loss.)

Pikey
15th September 2004, 05:54 PM
I like to drive my van because you sit high up , i reckon people carriers will be cool to drive as well .I hate speed bumps they can send my neck into spasm .Never have the window down as this can start all sorts of neck problems , get a car with air con .Stick a little sticker in a certain position on your rear window so when reversing you can lign it up with the curb and reverse easily into spaces , i'll try and think of some more .I must remnid myself not to drive around Hackney or Bethnal Green for a bit just in case .

Joy
15th September 2004, 11:29 PM
Driving is hard!!

Carly
16th September 2004, 01:37 PM
I have standard..... very few people drive standard over here. Everything is automatic. I know i havent had surgury so i dont count, but i dont have any problems driving. GOOD LUCK TONI!

Kaja
16th September 2004, 02:59 PM
Aaah! We have to learn how to drive with standard gear here, and then we can buy one with automatic of we want. It's not too expensive, atleast I don't think so. The lame thing is though, we have to borrow another car when I learn how to drive, because we have automatic :???: :P Which is in a while... Tsk.

BlueIce
16th September 2004, 03:18 PM
I think it's best to learn to drive a standard. It seems to be the hardest (although I've never driven an automatic before) so switching won't be as hard. I think almost everyone over here drives a standard, and you're not allowed to drive one if you didn't pass the exam for it.

Sarah
28th September 2004, 05:27 PM
I know BSM (British School of Motoring) cater with problems drivers have when they're learning. Blind spot mirrors and any other addititions if needed.

I 'hate' trying to drive the mondeo's/estates.
Not tried the new shape corsa but tried my cousins old shape (td), I found that a little to easy to drive, he had a fit when I nearly hit a concrete post it was to easy for me. I'm dying to get my hands on my dads zafira for a drive but I haven't passed test I gave up the other year.

Is anyone actually driving manual or are you all automatics? You have to try manual, there's the added bliss of stalling the gets.

Jessica*
29th September 2004, 04:29 AM
I have a 84 model car and it does me fine, it's even a manual. I reckon Ivy is just too uncoordinated to drive manual ;)

Small cars are great to learn to drive in as you don't fret as much when driving and thinking where the curb may be. When I did my lessons, I was in an automatic and I was given a pillow to drive with :D but I had great difficulty finding the left blindspot because I couldn't twist too much for the type of car I was driving. Ugh, I hated that car, its was a new car....and made no noise! (hehe)

When it comes to reverse parallel parking my instructor taught me a handy way of doing it, but it still did strain my neck and I could guarantee that you probably have more twisting difficulties than myself.
Just be sure to keep reminding your instructor that you have a problem, and so he doesn't feel edgy about you having this problem and being on the road, just slip in "but I can see fine in MY car, MY car is suited to my needs"

ivanleg
29th September 2004, 02:50 PM
Good tips Jess.
I took my first four tests in a manual and I'm still qualified to drive one but yeah, maybe I am uncoordinated. I just can't be asked fiddling about with gears.

Jonny
29th September 2004, 05:36 PM
As I was walking out of school today, my mum rang me to tell me that she'd just driven into a ditch in the school car park. I broke into a run and found her despairing over the car, which she'd driven too far forwards and the front wheels had fallen off the tarmac into a small ditch. (It's a rear-wheel drive car.) She said she'd tried to reverse it out, but there'd been "lots of white smoke". She was about to ring the AA, but I just walked straight round to the driver's door, said, "Let me have a go," and started the engine and drove straight out.

She's been driving for 39 years and I've been driving for minus seven months?

jfkimberly
29th September 2004, 06:50 PM
Originally posted by Jessica*@Sep 28 2004, 10:29 PM
When it comes to reverse parallel parking my instructor taught me a handy way of doing it, but it still did strain my neck and I could guarantee that you probably have more twisting difficulties than myself.
Aren't you going to share your tip with the rest of the class?

jfkimberly
29th September 2004, 06:53 PM
Originally posted by Jonny@Sep 29 2004, 11:36 AM
As I was walking out of school today, my mum rang me to tell me that she'd just driven into a ditch in the school car park. I broke into a run and found her despairing over the car, which she'd driven too far forwards and the front wheels had fallen off the tarmac into a small ditch. (It's a rear-wheel drive car.) She said she'd tried to reverse it out, but there'd been "lots of white smoke". She was about to ring the AA, but I just walked straight round to the driver's door, said, "Let me have a go," and started the engine and drove straight out.

She's been driving for 39 years and I've been driving for minus seven months?
I was afraid you were going to finish up this story with "So I walked right up to the front of the car and hoisted it out of the ditch." So soon after surgery. *tsk*

But you didn't! Did you have fun showing your mom up? Cheeky.

BlueIce
29th September 2004, 09:34 PM
I don't think I even turn myself for reverse parallel parking... I learned to use the mirrors, but it's really only a good method if you've got mirrors that can be changed automaticly. If you turn them all the way down you can see were the border is which makes it easier. You do have to look behind you a bit, to see through the back window. That's were the end of the car in front of you should be. Than turn the weel to the right whilst moving, look in the left mirror to see how far you have to go. Then turn left and you should be parked. It's not as easy as it sounds though, but that might be because I hardly park that way anymore.

Jessica*
30th September 2004, 04:27 AM
Aren't you going to share your tip with the rest of the class?
I don't think my tips will work here. It's hard to explain. All I had to do was look in one mirror until I saw the red marker, as soon as I did I had to turn the wheel sharply to the left, turn my neck to the right (strain) and look for the bottom of the other red marker then ease the wheel to the right until I judge as to when I should turn the wheel sharply to the right in order to be parallel with the curb. After that I just needed to use the middle mirror to judge the distance from the back of the car to the posts, equidistant to the front of the car to the markers at the front. If that all makes sense.

Just ask you intructor and maybe he'll have some handy tips for you.

jfkimberly
30th September 2004, 08:24 AM
*giggles* I've been driving for 15 years, and I don't see many red markers when I attempt to parallel park. But I came up with a rather nifty system in my present car. It has power-remote mirrors, and I point the curb-side mirror down toward the ground and bring it in so I can see how far I am from the curb. I get a perfect park every time. After I get in the spot, I just move the mirror back up into the correct position... all from the comfort of the driver's seat. No neck strain involved. *smile*

Jessica*
30th September 2004, 02:28 PM
How much would it cost me to upgrade my car to that? *thinks* Nah, forget it!

When was your driving lesson Toni?

girl97
17th March 2013, 06:07 AM
Informative thread!

I undo my seatbelt right after entering a car park as I feel the seatbelt restricts my twisting and turning ability to get into a parking space.

My parents commented that I always adjust the seat very close to the steering wheel. I feel more alert and in control doing so (I can turn my head to look behind more efficiently).

For me, the most awkward part was controlling the gearstick with my left hand. It didn't feel natural and I would have much preferred to control the gearstick with my right hand. The term 'Right hand drive' is misleading considering that the left hand does more work.