Sometimes, Driving is My Nemesis

When I got married, I was in my early 20s. We were both from the east coast, but lived in the southwest United States. We were the same age and did not mind driving back home. To get to my house, it was about a 24-hour drive (stopping for gas/food). We were young, motivated, and without health issues.

Why have I loved driving?

I used to love driving. I preferred it over any other mode of transportation. Here are my reasons to drive:

  • I love the scenic routes.
  • They just seem more calming to me.
  • It can sometimes be less traffic.
  • You can stop whenever you need to: food, bathroom breaks, gas, and stretch.
  • You can take detours: check out all the rest stops, historic spots, photo opportunities.
  • It is easier on my sensitive ears, due to many past surgeries.

How has migraine changed that?

Once I started having migraine attacks, driving long distance especially, became very problematic. The sunlight bothers me. I have lots of sensitivities. The early morning sun, around 7:30-8:30 am (rising), and the sun setting (around 5:00-6:00 pm), is the worst. Wearing glasses and having the sun’s rays beaming, brings havoc. It is hard to see anything. The sun visors are not much help at this point. I do have transition glasses, and, utilize the clip-on shades.

How does nighttime complicate driving?

Another issue with driving for me, is, that of night driving. If you think the sun is a problem, try night driving with the lights from cars. Me and LED lights do not get along. Well… neither do I and flashing lights. LOL. With the lights coming and going, I might as well be on an amusement park ride. I feel so sick every time a car goes by. Plus, some cars lights are so strong, that, it seems like they have their bright lights on.

I do not really have the following problem too often where I live, but, as I go closer to the east coast, there are more and more trees!!! I do love trees, but, not while driving. When the sun shines through the trees, you see: sun, shadow, sun, etc. It gives me that strobe-light effect. The shadows seem like they are moving as the car is. The faster I go, the faster they move. Driving through back and forth shadows and trees, is just another sensitivity related to light.

So…what do I do?

What have I done to help?

Well, there are several things that I feel help me personally, when I do drive.

  • I feel this is the most important: make sure that I have my emergency medications with me. That is: Extra Strength Excedrin, IV Zofran and Benadryl, and my nasal Imitrex.
  • Keep Emesis bags ready in the center console.
  • I also keep a cup with ice, in the car. That is because, I get nauseated very often.
  • I keep my clip-on shades in my car as well.
  • I also try to avoid scheduling appointments where I must drive when the sun is rising, or, setting.
  • If I do have to drive through lots of tree-lined roads, I focus straight ahead instead of looking at the trees.

Anything that eliminates some of the things that trigger migraines and related symptoms, is worth doing. Does driving bother you? Do you keep items ready in the car? Share tips that you have found helpful.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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