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View Full Version : Post-op question 4: Backing up when driving



mdtaffet
04-08-2012, 10:43 PM
Now that I've been cleared to drive, I will need to start driving myself to outpatient physical therapy regularly, along with any other necessary tasks. Whenever I need to back up my car, I always place my right arm on the top of the seat next to me, and turn my head to look over my right shoulder. This usually involves turning the upper part of my torso as well. Since I haven't really tried it yet, I don't know if this is going to be an issue in terms of twisting. I have been cleared to twist "a little bit", but I don't know whether the amount that I twist when backing up falls within the confines of "a little bit" or not. I did specifically ask the surgeon about this, and he said that turning my head was fine. I went out for a practice drive on Friday, but never needed to back up. I was able to turn just my head to see to the left and right of me for lane changing and turning, but I haven't yet tried to back up.

I will definitely need to back up this coming Saturday when I next go to visit my hair stylist, as their parking lot does not facilitate parking facing out, which is what I usually try to do, and have for years.

I'm wondering if adding an after-market back-up camera to my car will help with this. My husband says I should just learn to use the mirrors to back up while looking forward, but the thought of even trying to do that makes me very uncomfortable, particularly since the depth/distance perception offered by the mirrors can be very misleading at times. I do use the mirrors to time lane changes when driving on the highway (which I used to do every morning and evening for an hour each way between the remote work site and my home), but I've never found much use for them when backing up -- unless I'm in a parking lot where cars are packed closely together side-by-side in narrow aisles with other cars parked fairly closely behind, and I have to approach the cars on the other side of the aisle very closely to be able to turn around successfully. In that case I will both look behind me and double check the mirrors to be sure I'm not going to crash into the bumper of the car directly behind me. But those occasions are fortunately very rare.

Any ideas for backing up safely without twisting too far, other then my husband's "just use the mirrors" suggestion?

-- Thanks,
Mary

LindaRacine
04-08-2012, 11:07 PM
Hi Mary...

I drive a car with a backup camera. When I've had to drive without a camera, it's been pretty uncomfortable.

Regards,
Linda

leahdragonfly
04-09-2012, 10:29 AM
Hi Mary,

My car has back-up alarms which I rely heavily on. I check the mirrors, then go slowly and rely on the back-up alarm to tell me if something is getting close. I am not thrilled in crowded, cramped parking lots with lots of pedestrians walking through the cars, but I manage.

Does your Subaru have them?

mdtaffet
04-09-2012, 10:59 AM
My car has back-up alarms which I rely heavily on. I check the mirrors, then go slowly and rely on the back-up alarm to tell me if something is getting close. I am not thrilled in crowded, cramped parking lots with lots of pedestrians walking through the cars, but I manage.

Does your Subaru have them?



Gayle, no, my 2010 Subaru Legacy does not have backup alarms. Nor does it currently have a backup camera, but that can be added as an aftermarket item. My husband's brand new 2012 Subaru Outback does have a good size backup camera as integrated part of the navigation system, but my car doesn't have a navigation system. All I have in the same spot is an audio system.

My husband told me that it's not very expensive to add an after-market backup camera to my car, but he also said it would be very small, so much harder to see than the one his car has. And he's not prepared at this time to buy me a new car just for a larger backup camera. And given that his car has leather seats and a sunroof, I wouldn't want to drive it as my main car (I dislike leather seats intensely, and don't have any use for sunroofs, except maybe when it's dark to look at stars, as long as there's no opening for air to rush in).

I'll do some research to see if it might be possible to add backup alarms after-market as well.

-- Thanks for the suggestion,
Mary

mabeckoff
04-09-2012, 12:22 PM
I have purchased an extra long rear view mirror and it works very well for me.

LindaRacine
04-09-2012, 04:39 PM
By the way, some years ago, I had an aftermarket camera installed on a car. This was before they were widely available. It was expensive, but I felt it was absolutely worthwhile.

--Linda

djkinkead
04-09-2012, 07:50 PM
That seemed funny to me that you didn't want to drive a car with leather seats--its very uncomfortable to drive a car with cloth seats as you really can't "slide" on them.

I can't turn my head much, but at seven months, its getting better. My car has a back-up camera---it is very valuable to me.

I did put some comdex (sp?) mirrors on my mirrors so I would have better visibility of blind spots....

mdtaffet
04-09-2012, 08:09 PM
That seemed funny to me that you didn't want to drive a car with leather seats--its very uncomfortable to drive a car with cloth seats as you really can't "slide" on them.


I don't like leather seats because (1) they are both hotter in the summer and colder in the winter that cloth seats, and (2) in the summer time YOU STICK TO THEM IF YOU'RE WEARING SHORTS! I can't stand getting stuck to a seat and having to first unstick my skin from the seat before I can move -- especially now! For that primary reason, I have never liked leather seats.

I don't know what sort of "sliding" you're talking about in a single bucket seat. Maybe if you had a full bench seat you could "slide" on that, but I find that I move much better in cloth seats than I do in leather seats.

-- Mary

Confusedmom
04-09-2012, 10:16 PM
Melissa,
Where did you get the extra-long rear-view mirror?

Also, does anyone know if you can add after-market backup alarms? I have the camera, but it always makes things look farther away than they really are.

Thanks!

mabeckoff
04-09-2012, 10:19 PM
Melissa,
Where did you get the extra-long rear-view mirror?

Also, does anyone know if you can add after-market backup alarms? I have the camera, but it always makes things look farther away than they really are.

Thanks!

I ordered it from Amazon

mdtaffet
04-09-2012, 11:15 PM
Also, does anyone know if you can add after-market backup alarms? I have the camera, but it always makes things look farther away than they really are.



When I did a web search to find out, I ran across http://www.caralarmswarehouse.com/Backup+Sensors/. I can't speak for the quality of the merchandise advertized there, but they are after market.

lray
04-18-2012, 04:00 PM
Thanks goodness for my car's backup camera! I cannot twist postop and I can't tell you how invaluable a backup camera can be.

mdtaffet
04-18-2012, 07:32 PM
Thanks goodness for my car's backup camera! I cannot twist postop and I can't tell you how invaluable a backup camera can be.

My husband has purchased a backup camera for my car, but it hasn't been installed yet. I've now started physical therapy, and while the parking lot is designed to accommodate people parking facing out, there are never any spaces open in that area when I get there. So I do have to back out to leave the therapist's office. Fortunately it's a fairly quiet parking lot with not a lot of traffic moving at that point in the day, and I've been able to back up using primarily just the rear view mirror and side mirrors, in conjunction with turning my head just far enough to see to the right of me before I begin backing out.

The busier parking lots (i.e. grocery store) do generally have spaces available where I can park facing out, though they may not be close to the door. I have a temporary handicapped parking permit, but none of the handicapped parking spaces easily accommodate parking facing out, so I don't use them myself, though my husband will use them when I'm in the car.

When I saw the surgical fellow for the 2nd post-op visit, in addition to clearing me to drive for 30 to 45 minutes, he told me I could twist "a little bit". I just can't twist far enough around to look out the back window over my shoulder as I had been used to doing before the surgery.

The backup camera my husband bought for me is no bigger than a typical GPS device; had I purchased one, I probably would have gotten a much larger one. Hopefully it will still be useful...