As car enthusiasts, there isn't much that's more devastating than being told you physically can't drive. Whether due to injury or illness, that loss of mobility can be a wildly frustrating experience. Fortunately, we humans are fairly good at healing, and in the case of some injuries are back in action within a few weeks. But in the case of broken bones, how long should you wait before sliding back behind the wheel?

A recent story on The New York Times' Well blog tries to answer that question, although the results are fairly confusing. For example, there's no commonly accepted measure of when it's safe to get behind the wheel after a broken bone. While this is largely because every injury and more importantly, every patient, is different, the lack of clarity can be confusing for the average driver.

Making matters worse is that litigation-fearing doctors mistakenly believe they can be sued by "clearing" a patient to drive, although the NYT reports that insurance companies and police place responsibility for any post-op driving accidents on the head of the patient.

The entire piece is well worth a read, particularly if you're recovering from an injury. Hop over to The New York Times Well blog for the full story.


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  • 18 Comments
      Stinkyboy
      • 1 Year Ago
      OUCH!
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      mforty
      • 1 Year Ago
      After suffering a detached retina, it was 7 weeks to drive for me but the vision in one eye was impaired for another couple of months.
      Lloydchiro
      • 1 Year Ago
      Broken clavicle. I see it.
      Peter Middleton
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've driven cars with broken bones to and back from the hospital several times. Wimps.
      johnb
      • 1 Year Ago
      shifting the car was really tough for awhile after I broke my collar bone in a bicycle race accident. My 11 year old daughter got pretty good at shifting for me. :)
      Kevin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Really autoblog? Can we stick to real auto news...leave the medicine to the medical professionals? What\'s next? How long to not be able to lift your leg to operate a car gas pedal after having a femoral accessed upper mesenteric artery angiogram? I\'ve seen people here complained how this site strays away from Auto news...now I see it....please stop....
      jebibudala
      • 1 Year Ago
      If Chuck Yeager can fly a super temperamental rocket powered aircraft and break the sound barrier with broken ribs from the night before.......... So about 6 hours?
      ScottMcG
      • 1 Year Ago
      Does driving yourself to the emergency room count? I broke my right wrist and drove a stickshift through heavy traffic to the hospital. So I waited about 20 minutes.
      rcavaretti
      • 1 Year Ago
      This has got to be the bizzarest topic/question I seen on AB. What's the next question? 'How long to do you wait to drive after back seat exploits'?
      eye.surgeon
      • 1 Year Ago
      "litigation-fearing doctors mistakenly believe they can be sued by "clearing" a patient to drive, although the NYT reports that insurance companies and police place responsibility for any post-op driving accidents on the head of the patient"... As a physician that provides little comfort. A frivolous lawsuit can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend even if the conclusion is the physician was obviously not responsible for the outcome. The pro-litigation nature of our legal system means that it doesn't matter who is right or wrong, just the act of being sued can bankrupt. I have been encouraged by council to settle lawsuits that were almost laughably unfounded, simply to avoid the cost of defense.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
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