Broken an bone? Wondering when it will be safe to drive again?
It turns out there is no widely accepted return-to-driving timeline for patients who must wear casts, slings, neck collars or ankle boots. No matter what injury you are suffering from, glancing in the side mirrors, steering, braking, and other necessary driving abilities can be seriously impaired.
Most studies conducted have said that “braking function returns to normal four weeks after right knee arthroscopy, nine weeks after surgery for an ankle fracture, and six weeks after a patient can walk after a fracture of a major lower-body bone”. Following a total hip or knee replacement surgery, it is recommended that you wait four to six weeks before driving again.
It is recommended that patients should never drive with a cast or brace on the right leg, or if a cast or sling immobilizes the wrist or elbow.
The purpose of these studies was to encourage surgeons to relay these findings to their patients. Believe it or not, this topics is often avoided by surgeons because of a misperception that they could be sued if the patient got into an auto accident or if driving somehow aggravated the injury.
Your surgeon cannot clear you for driving, but they can educate you on when it is safe to get behind the wheel again.
Nevertheless, there is still controversy among studies in terms of the timeline before driving again. One study concludes that patients who are pain free could drive one week after a simple right knee arthroscopy. Experts encourage surgeons to tailor their advice to fit the patient’s severity, weighing such factors as the patient’s pain tolerance, medications, postoperative mobility and mental perception.
We remind everyone to be extremely careful when getting behind the wheel again after an injury. Use your best judgment and follow your surgeons advice.
If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today. We are here to help.