Many people with rheumatoid arthritis have to give up driving. But if you continue to drive despite your RA, there are certain precautions you should take to keep yourself safe and comfortable behind the wheel.

Practice driving before taking road trips, especially if you're starting on a new medication.

If you've been prescribed a new medication, it's important to practice driving with that medication in a safe environment before taking your car on the road. This will help reduce anxiety and give you time to feel comfortable with your new self behind the wheel.

Practice with a friend or family member. You'll want someone in the passenger seat who can spot any problems or dangerous situations as they arise (like an unexpected stop sign). Having this person there for support will also help keep stress levels down, so that if something does go wrong, everything will be okay!

Practice in an empty parking lot or neighborhood street where there are no other cars around and no pedestrians crossing streets at intersections where traffic lights are controlled by timers rather than police officers who might stop traffic for pedestrians when necessary — things like that can make driving more stressful because it means there's less control over what happens next! So make sure all these variables are taken care of beforehand so they don't impact how well you handle them later on down the line when things get real interesting ;)

Never drive when you're in pain or fatigued.

If you're in pain or fatigued, you'll be more likely to make mistakes. That's why it's important to never drive when either of these things is the case. If your hands are swollen or painful, and you can't grip the steering wheel properly, then your car will be unsafe for other drivers on the road. If fatigue causes you to fall asleep at the wheel (which happens surprisingly often), then there are countless ways that this could backfire—including wrecking into another car or running off into a ditch.

If any of these scenarios sounds familiar, don't worry—we've got some tips! First off: if possible, try asking someone else for help with driving duties. A friend or family member might be able to take over for a short period of time so that people with arthritis can get some rest before their next shift starts up again. Or if asking another person isn't an option—maybe because they live too far away from each other--then consider renting out Uber rides instead! The app makes it easy for anyone in need of transportation services; all users have do is request one when needed."

Make adjustments to your car if necessary.

  • If you have a power seat, use it. If you don't have one, ask your doctor if they can recommend a car with one that's appropriate for someone with RA.
  • Ask yourself whether or not the car will be able to accommodate your condition and needs. If you are in the market for a new vehicle and live somewhere where there are hills and steep roads, consider purchasing an SUV or truck over other types of vehicles like sedans, coupes and convertibles.
  • Make sure that the flooring is flat enough for easy entry onto the driver's seat without causing pain in any joints during acceleration or braking (especially when turning). You may also want to look into getting seats that can be raised higher than normal so that your feet don't drag along the ground when trying to get out of them after driving; this could lead to injuries such as sprains/strains which could affect mobility while driving as well as other activities such as walking around town afterwards!

Plan ahead if you need oxygen or medications while driving.

  • Make sure you have enough oxygen and medications for the trip. If your doctor prescribes oxygen for your condition and/or medications such as steroids (like prednisone), make sure that they are compatible with driving long distances. Also consider your medical history if any other conditions could affect how these drugs react in combination with each other or alcohol consumption.
  • Pack food and water for yourself on long trips because gas stations may be far apart from one another! It's also good practice to pack extra medicine just in case something happens during travel time away from home (like getting into an accident). You don't want anything stopping us from reaching our destination safely!

Try to avoid long stretches of stop-and-go traffic if possible.

While it might be tempting to avoid driving in order to avoid the pain and swelling that come with a flare-up, this can end up being counterproductive. If you're not driving, you'll have less independence and won't be able to get around easily.

Instead of avoiding driving altogether, try to plan for your commute so that you're not stuck in heavy traffic or bad weather for long stretches of time. Avoiding rush hour and inclement weather can help you stay comfortable while out on the road—and keep your RA from flaring up as well!

Listen to your body.

This is one of the most important driving tips for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Listen to your body!

  • If you feel tired, stop and rest.
  • If you have pain, stop and rest.
  • If you have an accident, stop and rest.
  • If you are in pain, stop and rest.

Take proper precautions when using hand controls, especially if you've had recent surgery.

You should use hand controls if you have had surgery on your hands, hands or arms. It will help you avoid further injury to the affected area.

If you have numbness or tingling in your hands, it is a good idea to use hand controls so that you don't accidentally hit the wrong pedals and cause an accident.

If you have trouble grasping items such as cups or other small objects, it's best to use them while driving.

If your joints ache so much that they make gripping difficult, then using these devices will prevent any further damage from occurring when trying to grab onto something with swollen joints.

Know how to manage emergencies and breakdowns.

  • Know how to manage emergencies and breakdowns.
  • Carry a spare tire and tire jack, as well as the tools needed to install it.
  • Keep a first aid kit in the car at all times; an emergency kit with clean bandages, pain medication and antiseptic wipes can come in handy if you need to stop somewhere unscheduled.
  • If your vehicle is equipped with air conditioning, consider adding a window-mounted crank-operated fan for extra ventilation during hot weather when opening windows isn't an option.


No matter how careful we are, sometimes things go wrong. Car accidents or breakdowns can be stressful and scary for anyone, but they can be especially so for people with RA. The key is to be prepared, rest assured that these situations don't happen often, and never drive when you're in pain or fatigued.


Jun 13, 2022
Health & Wellness

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Cyndi Mccauley

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