As requested, here is my suggestions for driving post TBI:
- Driving is EXHAUSTING(I'm not going to lie). It will take more energy than you realize or remember! There are so many things going on all the time, decisions to make, sequencing to keep straight. It can easily become overwhelming but CAN be done!!
- I took at driving "recertification" class at the rehab hospital I stayed at. They checked my reflexes and drove with me to make sure it was safe for me to be "out and about". See if a rehab hospital or OT (occupational therapy) program in your area has a class like this!!
- Drive short distances in familiar places. I still find it almost impossible to drive and navigate. I can do one or the other (OK, navigating is not my strength, even if I'm not driving.) At first the 5 minutes to Target and back was all I could do for one day! Eventually, I have worked up to the 1.5-2 hour trip to my parent's house which mostly takes me down a small interstate and rural country roads!
- When I drive I still talk to myself out loud to help me remember things like "look left, right, left". I used to have left and right labeled on my dashboard (on less thing to think about.)Because I had a stroke on my right side, my brain sometimes ignores my left side, I have to always be conscious that I am paying attention to what was on my left side! ( the driving class at the rehab hospital addressed this problem with me). I also tell myself what I see when I look left OR right to make sure my brain is processing what is going on)
- I had a list stuck to my radio that I looked at when getting in and out. It had a list of things to do/check before leaving. It went like this :1. seat belt on 2. start car 3. look both ways. Getting out looked like this: 1. car in park 2. turn off key 3. key in handbag 4. take handbag with you 5. lock the car. It just helped me to organize the basics and safe a little mental energy!
- RADIO OFF at all times! Limit as many distractions as you can!
- Always carry an extra pair of sunglasses (I have to wear sunglasses even in the rain or I get a headache) and a snack to refuel if needed. I always have water for taking "pills" if I need to while I am out!
You'll do great "V"!! Take it slow and build up gradually! Start on quiet familiar road with a very patient and loving, and brave person (hehehe)! You will do great! God bless and thanks for reading my blog!!!! -Lisa