After a stroke, you may be eager to get back in the driving seat. However, strokes and TIAs can affect your ability to drive and there are procedures in place that you should follow if you want to drive again.

The driving rules

After a stroke or TIA you must stop driving immediately, but for many people this is temporary.

It is possible to return to driving as long as it’s safe to do so and you follow the right procedures. Your stroke team may be may be involved in assessing the skills you need for driving.  They can also advise whether it is safe it is for you to return to driving.

It is your responsibility to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (known as the DVLA) of any medical condition that may affect your ability to drive safely. If you live in Northern Ireland you need to inform the Driver and Vehicle Agency (known as the DVA).

When can I drive after a stroke or TIA?

If you have a licence to drive a car or motorcycle (category B licence) you are not allowed to drive for at least one month after a stroke or TIA. 

After a month you may start driving again if your doctor is happy with your recovery.

If you have a number of TIAs over a short period of time you will need to wait until you have not had any TIAs for three months before returning to driving. You will also need to notify the DVLA or DVA. 

There are other rules around driving that may affect you if you have epilepsy or have had an operation called a carotid endarterectomy. Take a look at our leaflet on Driving after stroke to find out more.

Do I need to notify the DVLA or DVA?

During the first month after a stroke or a single TIA you do not have to notify the DVLA or DVA, even though you are not allowed to drive.

You must notify the DVLA or DVA as soon as possible if any of the following apply: 

  •  you have experienced multiple TIAs over a short period of time 
  •  your condition worsens at any time
  •  you have experienced any form of epileptic seizure, other than ones within the first 24 hours following your stroke
  •  your stroke treatment included brain surgery
  •  you have experienced more than one stroke in the past three months
  •  your doctor expresses concern about your fitness to drive
  •  you hold a current LGV or PCV licence.

One month after your stroke you will need to notify the DVLA or DVA if you have any ongoing effects from your stroke. These may include vision problems, problems with memory or thinking or weakness in your arm or leg.

Returning to driving

The decision to return to driving (if you are able to) is a personal one. 
 
Some people prefer to build up their confidence in their own home and around their local community first. For others it is an urgent goal.
 
Before you start driving again, you may find it helpful to have a few refresher lessons with a qualified driving instructor.
 

Even if you still have physical disabilities, it may still be possible for you to drive. There are various vehicle adaptations and motoring accessories that can make driving possible and more comfortable. Specialist mobility centres can carry out assessments and provide advice about making adaptations to your vehicle, which can enable you to return to driving.

The Blue Badge scheme provides parking concessions for people with severely restricted mobility who have problems using public transport.

What if I can’t drive?

There are schemes that can make travelling easier for you if you’re not able to drive. In some areas local councils provide community transport schemes for people who have disabilities and are unable to use public transport.
 
If you can travel by train, you may wish to buy a Disabled Person’s Railcard. This  entitles you to a third off the cost of most rail fares in England, Scotland and Wales.
 
If you can travel by bus, you may be entitled to a free bus pass if you meet certain criteria, for example if you are blind or partially sighted, or have difficulty walking. 
 
If you are unable to access public transport because of your disability, the Access to Work scheme may be able to help you with the cost of getting to and from work.

Find out more

There's more information and advice in our leaflet Driving after stroke.

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