If you haven’t heard of hyperhidrosis, it refers to a medical condition in which the sufferer is subject at any time to extreme sweating. This generally affects the hands, feet, groin, armpits, and sometimes even the face more than other areas of the body.
Most people who are affected by sweaty hands and hyperhidrosis generally have an intermittent problem with it, but in the most extreme cases, it can be almost continuous. Roughly 3% of the American population is affected by hyperhidrosis; oddly enough, there’s a 40% chance that another family member will be similarly afflicted when one family member has the condition.
Very often, there’s no clear cause or trigger for sweaty hands, so it can be very difficult to treat. However, it is known that the symptoms are often exacerbated by increased temperatures or greater exposure to stress. So, the question that we will be addressing in this article is whether or not hyperhidrosis can impact your driving ability and your chances of getting a driver’s license.
Medical conditions that affect your driving
There are definitely some medical conditions that can have a major impact on your ability to drive and can even affect your eligibility for a driver’s license. One of these is experiencing epileptic seizures, and this is very understandable, because if you were to have a seizure while driving, it could trigger a major auto accident involving yourself and others.
Blackouts or other neurological conditions can also affect your ability to drive, for the same reason as epileptic seizures – you will at least temporarily lose control of the vehicle, and that could lead to disaster. Angina can prevent you from driving until it’s under control and you no longer have restricted blood flow. Some kinds of operations will also render you unfit for driving, and there are a number of medications that can make you drowsy and therefore unsafe for getting behind the wheel.
Any of these medical conditions can either temporarily or permanently make you unfit for driving, and you should not attempt to drive when you’re being affected by any one of them. You will probably have noticed that hyperhidrosis was not included in the list of driving deal-breakers above. That’s because it’s not so much a prohibition as it is a cautionary situation that requires the potential driver to be aware at all times.
Hyperhidrosis and driving
Having sweaty hands can certainly impact your ability to grip the steering wheel, causing your hands to slip off the wheel and possibly causing an unexpected vehicle movement in traffic. While this can certainly be cause for alarm, it should not be considered a mandate to avoid driving. For instance, even if you sweat profusely in the area of your hands, there are some steps you can take to increase your safety.
For instance, you can install a cover on your driving wheel that makes it much less slippery – perhaps some cloth covering or a fuzzy, pink covering that will be very grip-able. You can also try applying some talcum powder or baby powder to your hands before driving. It will also help to keep your car relatively cool, so that increasing temperatures don’t trigger a high-sweat episode with your hands.
Some people suffering from hyperhidrosis have achieved good results using certain types of medication, surgery, or iontophoresis. This last treatment involves introducing a small electrical shock to the body, sometimes accompanied by medication, to slow down or halt the flow of perspiration from a certain body area.
In some fairly extreme cases, hyperhidrosis sufferers have been able to demonstrate to the Social Security Administration that they are unable to sustain work at any kind of job because of the condition. To prove this, you’d have to be able to show that your level of the condition imposes ‘non-exertional limitations’ on you and prevents you from performing any kind of job involving the use of your hands.
However, driving a vehicle is a horse of a different color. You won’t need to prove to the Department of Motor Vehicles that your sweaty hands’ condition does not impede your ability to operate a motor vehicle. In fact, you don’t really need to mention it at all, even if you have a fairly severe case of it.
You will need to take some precautions, though, in order to ensure that you can safely operate the vehicle and not be a danger to yourself or others. Some of the steps mentioned above should be adequate to ensure your safety, and the safety of your fellow motorists.