How to Drive With Vertigo

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According to the Neurology Channel website, vertigo is a symptom, not a disease. When an individual suffers from vertigo, they may experience a spinning sensation, which is usually a result of a balance issue. Feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness and faintness are also commonly associated with vertigo. The National Institute of Health estimates that approximately 40 percent of people suffer from vertigo in the United States. For someone who experiences vertigo on a regular basis, driving can be tricky, difficult and dangerous.

Things You'll Need

  • Physician recommendations
  • Prescription lenses
  • Glare-resistant lenses

Driving is scary for someone who is experiencing vertigo. If the vertigo is a short-term complication of medication or a temporary illness, it is best that the individual stop driving all together until the vertigo is no longer occurring. For someone who is suffering from a long-term illness, such as Meniere’s disease, where vertigo is a common occurrence, driving should be limited to two hours or less, but the individual may receive other guidelines from their health care physician and should follow physician guidelines when it comes to the length of time that is recommended for driving. It is also more common to experience vertigo and dizziness while driving at night. Avoid driving during nighttime hours if experiencing dizziness and vertigo more at night.

Stay well-rested before getting behind the wheel of a car. Sleep deprivation is the number one cause of dizziness and vertigo. If vertigo is already a problem, being tired or sleepy may add to the problem. Vision problems are also to blame for many vertigo problems while driving and concentrating. Have your vision checked if you haven’t recently done so. Staying up-to-date on your vision needs is extremely important for cutting down on problems while driving.

The Pennsylvania Optometric Association recommends turning on the headlights during the pre-dawn and dusk hours when driving. If needed, wear prescription lenses while driving. An anti-reflection coating can be ordered for clear lenses and may help reduce glare during driving times. Turn your head from the side of the road to the road ahead of you in order to hold driving concentration and wear sunglasses when driving during the daytime hours, even if the sun is not out and especially on bright winter days.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have your eyes checked on a regular basis. It’s important to remember that the eye tests given at the DMV are screening tests and are no substitute for regular examinations.
  • Avoid wearing sunglasses at night. The idea that sunglasses at night will help someone see better is a myth.

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