View Full Version : What auto to drive

11-22-2010, 09:04 AM
While I am only four weeks post op today, I am trying to plan ahead to those days where I will start driving again.

My family and friends are worried that my car sits too low to the ground and that I will not be able to drive it. My husband drives a truck so I have been able to get in and out of his truck with no problem.

Since I am fused T-2 to pelvis and have three vertebrae in my neck fused, my range of motion is limited.

I drive a Mazda 626, which is a small car that sits low to the ground. While I really don't want to have to buy another car, is it realistic to think I can drive my Mazda? I have trouble getting up from sitting on the couch and instead, sit in a straight back chair with arms at home.

Ed, since you have this long fusion, did you find driving to be an issue? Will I gain enough flexibility in a year or so to drive my Mazda? I did fine driving my Mazda after my neck surgery......just used the mirrors a lot. I know it will be a different story with the back.

11-22-2010, 10:17 AM
I personally would recommend trading in for a Lamborghini Murcielago. When your in pain, this unit will get you there fast.

Just kidding. You will be fine with your car.

I started driving at 6 weeks post. My first trips were very short ones, maybe a mile or so. Take a soft pillow. Be careful and move slow getting in and out as hitting your head is an issue. I had to have someone lower my seat in my car.

I wouldn’t recommend driving on medications. Vehicular manslaughter in Nevada is 2-20 years.

Drive slow. An accident can crack your construct, put you back into surgery. Make sure your headrest is set properly.

Mojo's Mom
11-22-2010, 12:37 PM
I think when my time comes I will get one of those "lazy susan"-like little things you put on the seat that allow you to spin 90 degrees without effort.

11-22-2010, 03:34 PM

My doctor suggested to me that I put a plastic garbage bag on the drivers seat which would allow me to turn around easier. I haven't tried this yet since my seats are leather and I seem to move around on the seat fairly well. I'm only 7 weeks postop so only doing around town driving, close to home. No freeway driving for me yet!

I can't drive my car yet because its a 2 door sports car. No way could I get in & out of it or handle the heavy door. I'm driving instead our SUV which is much easier to drive and get in/out right now.

11-22-2010, 07:39 PM
Hi Chris,

I'm fused T1 to L2 and I drove a Mazda Protege after my surgery. I did not have a problem getting in and out of my car, except that I was extremely slow at both. :) The main issue was (and still is) turning my body to back up the car. I've learned to rely on mirrors a lot more.

I hope you can keep your current car.


11-22-2010, 08:15 PM
Thanks for the encouraging news. Sounds like I can make my Mazda work with some careful practice. We shall see in a few weeks,months.

11-22-2010, 08:59 PM
I am fused T4 to the pelvis and drive a Honda Accord and do fine. At first driving was not comfortable at all in my lumbar area but now its alot better. I do still have some limited range of motion in looking behind me, but that is true no matter what vehicle you drive. I think your Mazda will serve you just fine...just give it some time. Good luck ;-)

11-22-2010, 09:37 PM
I drive a camaro and it sits low to the ground.It takes me a while to get in and out but I make it work.

11-22-2010, 10:13 PM

I want to add a few more specifics on vehicles...

I would recommend an automatic transmission. I didn’t drive my truck much in my first year. (It has a stick) Pushing on a clutch will be uncomfortable on your lower back till things “toughen up” or heal.

When entering your (lower level) car, its imperative that you position your height first(squat), before sitting down on the seat, or you could hit your head. I grew 4 inches, and it took me awhile to adjust.

I did have leather seats, that explains me not needing a trash bag for ease of rotation upon sitting down. Heated seats are very nice to have. Surgery or not. Scoliosis or not.

When exiting the car, I would use my left leg and hook under the door to use as a lever to help rotate on the seat. After I was facing the driver side mirror, I would then use my right leg under the door to complete the turn facing out the door. I would then hang on the door and stand up.

I have found that high vehicles, trucks, suv’s are a challenge, take a bit of thought before getting in and out of. Its nice to have a handle to grab on to up by the ceiling.

Large vehicles with heavy doors are also a burden sometimes, especially if the car is on a hill. Its best to not attempt this right after a surgery, you will have battle keeping the door open, and you need your legs positioned under to help with the rotation. I found and adapted to this method of rotation since lifting or unweighting your bum is difficult.

My vote for the vehicle with the most comfortable seat is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The heated seats will scramble an egg in 60 seconds.

I think that’s it. After time, things do get easier dealing with cars.

Believe it or not, there are no special notes I can offer for riding a motorcycle other than the fact that I have read that vibration is no good for the back per Dr Moe’s textbook of spinal deformities.

11-22-2010, 10:50 PM
Ed-I have a cheaper alternative to a Lamborghini for anyone who cannot afford THAT option...I have a little red hard-top convertible Volvo that I figure I can just have the hubby put down the top so I don't hit my head! Then I can close the top back up. Might be a little drafty in the winter, but hey-that is a small price to pay to feel somewhat cool-to balance out the comical maneuvering of my butt into the seat!!!

11-22-2010, 11:21 PM

That option sounds a little cold this time of season...

Kirkwood reported 108” this morning. That’s 9 feet in 3 days. Expecting another 3-4 feet by tomorrow night.

Not bad. I will take my snorkel.
Hoo hoo

11-22-2010, 11:45 PM
Not too cold if you have a garage.... And 9 feet.....OMG!!!!!!!!!!! We only have 3 feet, and 15" in the last 24 hours. I WANNA go NOW...... Snorkel and ski...my two favorite things to do.

11-23-2010, 12:11 AM
hey Ed
good gosh...9 feet...how many inches?!!

we hate 2 inches here in the northeast...especially those of us who are non skiers...

hope you enjoy that...white stuff...and voluntary outdoor activities, flying down mountains!

by the way, we don't need any right now...so you go ahead and keep all that white stuff out there...
wouldn't want to deprive you, especially with your bday coming up! ;)


11-23-2010, 12:14 AM
It was 80˚ here in Austin today .... what's this "white stuff" y'all are talking about? :D

11-23-2010, 02:04 AM
As I have said on a previous thread about cars - pick me, pick me.............
the 'Toyota RAV4':cool:

11-23-2010, 02:57 AM
I tried the lazy susan contraption when I got home, it was not a success. A sheet of satin thrown over the seat is much more useful, thanks to Vali for the idea.

Naptown, I am also fused T4 to pelvis and also drive a Honda Accord. The first time I got in, I banged my head. Now I do it slowly, slanting my head down to my shoulder to squeak in. I like the Accord and don't want to sell it but a Rav 4 like Vali's really would be more sensible.

11-23-2010, 02:11 PM
How much snow has the NE gotten ?

It is not doing any thing here in NC. About 65 degrees and very dreary out

11-23-2010, 02:56 PM
I have a friend in upstate New York who says it's about the same as you - 65˚ and overcast.