When is it Safe to Drive?

One of our international friends passed her driving permit test today. After our roads clear of ice, I plan to help her practice behind the wheel. That will certainly not be as scary for me as when Don learned to drive after his stroke.

Don could not possibly drive for some time after his stroke. Later, he strategically asked to begin to drive with our garden tractor. This scared me, because our lawn bordered a barbed wire fence on one side and a steep bank on another, it had trees to drive around on a slope, and Don had to reach across the steering wheel to his paralyzed side to operate all the tractor’s controls. He also could not demonstrate needed driving concepts such as “fast and slow.”

An occupational therapist gave Don a driver readiness test, on which he performed surprisingly well. So I had to give up my resistance. As I hung on the back of the tractor the first time, I saw elements of Don’s driving abilities return to him spontaneously. Eventually he became our primary mower for several years, until we moved to a home in town with a smaller lawn that did not demand a riding tractor.

Don Driving John Deere

Don was thrilled when he eventually learned to drive a car again, but that scary story deserves its own blog post.

What helped us cope and gave us hope?

When Don’s lack of independence and inability to drive frustrated him, a driver readiness test demonstrated he still had abilities that had not been apparent. He found hope as learned to mow the lawn with our garden tractor – one step toward his ultimate goal of driving a car. The driver readiness test also soothed my fears about Don’s safety if he were to drive. I admit I coped at times by looking the other way when Don drove the garden tractor.

Questions for our readers:

Have you struggled between desires to drive and safety issues? What has helped you deal with the issue?

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