Log in
Ataxia UK
2,729 members2,568 posts

DVLA Driving Assessment

Hi All. My friend who has cerebellar ataxia, has to go for a driving assessment test sometime soon. Could anyone advise what kind of things he may have to do and if you can use your own car for the test, as I believe I read on here sometime ago that you are not allowed to use your own car. Many thanks.

13 Replies
oldestnewest

When I was assessed about a year ago, I had to use their car which I could not get on with. When I tried to explain (I have a problem speaking) that with ataxia you get used to adapting to familiar surroundings and it can take a while to adjust to something different and that I had no problems with my own car, I was told that a driving licence was for any car but I tried to explain that I did not drive any car, only my own.

Also, one of the manoeuvres that they asked me to do was to reverse into a narrow space in a car park. I tried to explain that, having had a blue badge for years, I always use wide disabled bays and I do not reverse in as I need room at the rear to get my wheelchair out.

Also their car was very basic with none of electronic aids that were fitted to my car (ie: reversing sensors and reversing camera). Needless to say, my licence was not renewed but as I always have my wife with me to get my wheelchair out and I was driving less and less, it was not really a problem, just annoying at the way it happened.

Reply

All things considered, the way this was conducted seems very unfair. Do you know if your Neurologist was asked for any input🤔xBeryl

Reply

hi Sammy I have had an assessment recently and it consists of driving simulation where your they test your reactions breaking and hand -eye co ordination. A 30 mins practical assessment and it is in one of their own cars as it is kitted out with all disabled accessories. This is not a test as they assume you already know the driving rules, but to check how safe you are. But in my case I needed practice using a steering ball which was my suggestion if I hadn't asked for this then I would have failed assessment so ask your friend if they need a driving aid to mention this and your friend will know this. I was given a few months to go and take lessons to practice with a disabled driving instructor, at my own costs. I passed my assessment and can now drive.

Reply

Hi, my assessment was in Derby. I had to use their car, but was allowed to drive around the hospital for a few minutes to get used to it. I had to drive for an hour, which is way longer than I usually drive due to nystagmus as I get tired. I had to drive up to speed on a duel carriage way, and for part of the test I had to narrate any hazards. At the end of the test I had to reverse park and thankfully I did it ok. It was incredibly stressful but I got through. I found it particularly difficult as I don't live in Derby, and I usually only drive on familiar routes.

Reply

Thank you. That was very helpful as my friend may have to go to Derby for his Assessment. They seem to make it as stressful as they can which is very unfair considering you are coping with this awful illness. I know they have to be sure that you can drive safely, but I do hope they take into consideration all the anxieties that this can place on people like your good selves.

1 like
Reply

🙂 I like familiar routes when I drive, and actually driving a car I'm familiar with😉 On Friday, my husband left me sat in his car while he went to the Bank. A disabled space opposite became vacant, I felt obliged to move because we were on a yellow line😏 My own car is small and I've driven it for many years🙂 I've only ever driven my husbands a couple of times, it's a 4x4 huge in comparison😏 Simply moving it a few yards and reversing into a large parking space was ridiculously stressful😏xBeryl

1 like
Reply

Thank you wobblybee and others who have replied to my post. My friend has always driven smallish cars and is worried in case they ask him to drive a large car. I have passed on the information to him and I think he is more worried now than he was before. I have been in the car with him before and after his diagnosis and despite his problems his driving has always been perfectly OK with no problems at all other than getting in and out of the car. I just hope he doesn't get too anxious and stressed before he starts the test and messes it up, as he will be distraught if he can't drive.

1 like
Reply

Sammie62king the only time I reversed was back into their parking spaces. I can't remember what car it was, but it was an average car. The assessor was very nice but professional. There is a simulator test but it wasn't deemed necessary for me. Remember he can take time to become accustomed to the car. My only failing was overtaking parked cars too closely. I passed my test in 1980 so this was an ordeal for me, but if he is driving fine now, then this is all they need to satisfy themselves with and he will be fine. Let us know the outcome!

Reply

Will do. He has got to ring Derby next week for sppointment. Do they tell you after the assessment

If you have passed or not?

Reply

Yes ~ Bob

Reply

Thanks Bob, handy to know that.

Reply

Sammie62King,

Got into this section of the site accidentally , I subscribe to the scleroderma section. I retook my driving test in Oct and was given 3 weeks notice about it, I had declared my condition to DVLA well over a year before and they did not even acknowledge my letter. I hadn't driven for a while as I had been so I'll but took some refresher lessons from a government approved instructor. She was great, she found out what was required. My letter from DVLA stated that I had to use my own car and that safety was paramount and bad habits were allowable. The test took 50 mins and included some independent driving where you drive to a destination following signs. I have been driving automatic cars for over 20 years and my current car is an automatic. I passed my test with flying colours so I was well pleased and waited for the letter to arrive in the post letting me know the outcome. My licence lasts for only 2 years and then I will have to be assessed again and I am only allowed to drive an automatic vehicle. Get advice from a government approved instructor, there is a checklist they work to when performing medical assessments.

Hope this helps.

Reply

Thank you for this info. When my friend rang to make his appointment they said they would have to ring him back at a later date as there was a waiting list for these assessments. Talk about adding to an already stressful situation. I will let him know what you suggest so thanks again.

1 like
Reply

You may also like...