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Driving With MS

Written by Francie MacDougall
Posted on August 25, 2021

Ten years ago as I was driving to work, I felt my foot slip off of my car’s gas pedal. I panicked, desperately trying to feel pressure under my right foot and to find the brake instead of the gas. After it happened a few more times, I talked to my neurologist, who suggested I consider hand controls for the car.

I searched online for “handicapped driver services” and found a company that equips cars to make driving possible for those of us with various physical limitations. I went for an assessment and training, then added some equipment to the car. It cost around $1,000, a big investment, but worth it in the long haul to safely handle my daily tasks.


Since then, I’ve been able to continue driving, even as my multiple sclerosis has progressed. I trudge along behind my walker to get to the driver’s side door and pull myself into the car, taking more pleasure than I should at the disbelieving eyes of my fellow drivers as I maneuver my car out of its parking space.

I never take driving for granted. I know how fortunate I am to have, at this time, a moment of uninterrupted communication between my brain and my hands, when I can feel as able-bodied and relevant as those on the road around me.

When I feared losing the ability to drive, I mourned because it was just another indication of my loss of control. Often, I find myself surprised when my bladder, legs, and back fail me. But to be able, for an uncertain amount of time, to count on my body to exert control over my car via my head and hands is a triumph.

A dear friend recently flew in for a visit, and my husband offered to drive when we were going out to dinner (masked, outside). I glared at him. He knows better than to mess with a girl and her moment of freedom!

MyMSTeam columnists discuss multiple sclerosis from a specific point of view. Columnists' articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyMSTeam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. MyMSTeam content isn't intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Posted on August 25, 2021
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Francie MacDougall is a freelance writer who lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She was diagnosed with MS in 1990. Learn more about her here.

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