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Living with Migraine : Driving and Migraine

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Q: Can I drive a car or some other vehicle?
A: Being diagnosed with migraine does not prevent you from driving. However, the Federal Aviation Administration will not allow you to fly a plane. Migraine does not create any safety concerns while in control of a vehicle, unless you drive during a migraine attack or while taking medications that affect your ability to drive safely.
Q: How can a migraine attack affect my driving?
A: During a migraine attack you can experience visual disturbances, vertigo (dizziness), and difficulty concentrating. If you were to drive while experiencing a migraine attack, these associated symptoms would make you vulnerable to driving errors and place you and others at risk of serious injury. If you begin to experience a migraine attack while driving, you should stop the vehicle and immediately treat the attack. You should not resume driving until you have completely aborted the attack and are sure that your medications will not interfere with your ability to drive.
Q: Can my medications affect my ability to drive safely?
A: Many preventive medications do not affect your driving ability; however, some may. If your medication causes difficulty concentrating or drowsiness then you should not drive. Abortive medications do not typically affect judgment or cause drowsiness. If you are sure you have aborted a migraine attack, you will be able to drive unless you have used abortive medications that sedate. Alcohol can interact with prescription medication, so you need to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
Q: Sometimes driving in busy traffic can trigger my migraine attacks. How can I avoid such attacks while I’m driving?
A: Driving can act as a trigger for a migraine attack because of the stress and fatigue involved, as well as glare and pungent odors. You can reduce your risk of a migraine attack while driving if you maintain the necessary dietary restrictions, take breaks from driving to relax and stretch out, avoid glare by wearing sunglasses, and avoid traveling behind vehicles emitting exhaust fumes. Try not to become too frustrated with the behavior of other drivers. Remaining calm will help you avoid a migraine attack.
Q: How do I avoid driving when I have a migraine attack?
A: There are likely to be occasions when you cannot drive because of an acute migraine attack but you need to make a journey. Organize a few individuals who could help you with transportation when you have an attack, and discuss your requirements with them to make sure they would be available when you need them. You may find it difficult to ask for help but you must understand how dangerous it could be for you and others if you drive during an attack.
Q: My family and I enjoy road trips. How can I avoid a migraine attack while we are on one of these trips?
A: If you follow the travel plan discussed previously, it will help reduce your risk of having a migraine attack while you’re on the road. Eating out becomes a bit more of a challenge on a road trip. It is very important that you do your best to stay focused and do not relax your dietary restrictions. Review the previous discussion about driving and migraine triggers. You need to avoid long periods of driving time without stopping to walk around and relax. Try to reduce the stress of driving with children by making sure they are entertained with playing games or listening to music.
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