Dad Driving: Hi all I wanted to give a quick... - Headway


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Dad Driving


Hi all

I wanted to give a quick update on my dad who is doing really well since his brain injury. He suffers from aphasia but it's really only naming words that this affects: he manages to get around it by describing the object he has forgotten the name of. He's getting much better with people's names.

It's 7 months since his injury and he's really like to drive again. He's had a visual fields test at the opticians which was ok but has also had one at the hospital which he's waiting for the results of.

Has anyone got any advice re supporting him in returning to driving? He's very physically strong and has had no physical deficits. He just has some short term memory issues and aphasia.

Thanks in advance and hoping that everyone on here is making positive progress.

17 Replies

To be honest, for a competent driver who's been driving for many years, it's something which comes back naturally when getting back behind the wheel.

Obviously, a couple of test runs along quiet roads isn't a bad idea the first time out, and for longer journeys it might be advisable to have a passenger with a licence on board.

I remember when I was cleared to drive again after my BI it felt so natural and familiar, like it hadn't even been interrupted.

Best wishes for your dad with his driving, and with all other aspects of his recovery. Cat x

Regencyteacher in reply to cat3

Thanks Cat. I think he will be fine driving but I'm not sure how I get him certified. Is there specific procedure after a brain injury?

Thank you so much for your advice.

I hope all is well with you?

Best wishes

cat3 in reply to Regencyteacher

I was given the wording for a letter to the DVLA as soon as I was conscious and the hospital sent it off to them.

At my first recall appointment, 3 months after discharge, my surgeon said he was satisfied that I was fit to commence driving again and I should notify DVLA accordingly.

I phoned them when I returned home that same day and asked if there was a particular procedure I needed to follow . They said it was purely up to my consultant to decide whether I was now ok to drive, and thanked me for notifying them.

It seems to depend a great deal on one's postcode as, according to reports from others, some people have been asked to surrender their licence and after the ok from their doctors, have been required to pass a driving assessment before getting it back.

I'm in Manchester, and by comparison, it seems I was fortunate in the way my case was handled. :-/

Did your dad surrender his driving licence ? Has he been told by his doctors that he can resume driving, and have you contacted the DVLA ? x

Hi regency teacher

Do you know if the DVLA were informed ?

If not they do need to be informed. Any number of things can happen.

They may take the licence away for a year, issue a short licence, request an assessment etc etc.

Best thing is probably to check on the DVLA website or ring them up.

After a short licence of 1year i am waiting to hear what is next.

Best wishes to both of you.

Hi randomphantoms they haven't been informed yet. Dad was in hospital until Christmas and hasn't driven yet. We were unaware that dvla should havd been informed.tbh, the hospital hasn't been great at giving advice!

I'll get on the case.


Hi regecyteacher

I would agree that you must inform dvla. Memory problems should not effect ability to drive so long as you dont get flustered whilst driving if you do not recognise an area you are driving in.

I worried about concentration and distraction as I thought I was easily distracted from what I was doing and would forget to return to a task. Having burnt pans dry and even destroyed a cooker ( long story but yes you can kill a gas cooker ).

I was put at ease when told that after a long dvla test that my distraction did not detract from my ability to drive.

Even if you have not been advised to drive I would inform dvla as in the event of an accident insurers will jump on any medical condition as a point of fault.

Good luck and hopefully your dad has many hours of happy driving.

Thanks Paxo05. I will definitely speak to dad about informing the DVLA. Thanks for the advice and good wishes!

Regency teacher

The impression I get is that the DVLA very much take brain injury and ability to drive on a case by case basis. The nature of the injury and the impact on the person and yes,as Cat says, they will rely heavily on opinions of consultants.

Lots of love to you both

Thank you all! Such great help in here. Wishing all the very best.

Lots of love


I surrendered my licence to the dvla while I was still in rehabilitation as they put it "it's just like freezing something and when you're ready they just take it out". I had a letter from my consultant/ surgeon saying he didn't see a problem with me driving so as soon as I got the letter I emailed it over to the dvla. About 1 month later I received it in the post. I did have a driving lesson before I drove my car as it had been 10 months and due to a weakness on my right side I thought it would be a good idea. My car is an automatic which I think went definitely in my favour.

Hope this helps you and good luckto your dad In driving again.

Thanks that's great to hear that you are back in the driver's seat. I am having trouble persuading him that a car will be enough and that he doesn't need to get back on the motor bike!


When I had my Subarachnoid haemorrhage, my wife informed DVLA, and we took my car off the the road (SORNed but kept the insurance active), we then after about 10 months decided I was probably ready to go back on the road, we decided to have a formal driving assessment done, and applied to the driving assessment centre used by the DVLA, as we had decided to do this ourselves, we had to initially pay the assessment fee, which I think was in the region of £100. We did this as we knew that DVLA might want the assessment done and this would get it done quicker, we live in a rural part of mid Wales and not being able to drive was very limiting.

In the end, the DVLA decided that they did want the assessment done, so we got the fee refunded, I found it very helpful to go out with a formal assessor who understood what the issues could be, had a psychologist as well assess me, and gave me a clean bill of health to start driving, as I think some one else has commented, I was initially given my licence back for 12 months, and at the end of the 12 months, they have now returned my licence to me dated until where I was before the whole thing started.

The only thing I still find is that I still find it very fatiguing to drive longer distances (over 30 minutes) so we replaced my car with an automatic as my wife has limits on her licence to only drive automatics, so now on longer trips we can share the driving, as a couple of other replies have said I found getting back to driving was rather like riding a bike, it came back naturally, I had wondered if I would be able to manage the gear changes etc, but this just seemed to happen without ant problems.



Regencyteacher in reply to Hidden

That's really helpful, John. Thank you. I'm glad to hear that you have recovered sufficiently to be able to drive. My dad get's more tired than he used to so I expect he may also find long journeys more difficult.

Best wishes


Hi Regencyteacher,

Many thanks for your post - it's good to hear that your Dad is in a position to be considering a return to driving.

Headway produce a booklet called 'Driving after brain injury' that includes a lot of the key information. We'd be happy to post a copy out to you - just send us a private message on here with your full name and postal address.

Alternatively, you can contact our helpline on 0808 800 2244 or and they'd be happy to help.

Best wishes,


Thank you so much, that's really helpful. Will get on to that ASAP.

Thanks again for all you do

I had meningitis and was told by my consultant that I shouldn't drive. I felt peeved as I didn't feel my illness had affected my driving in the run up to being in hospital.

After 4 months I started sneaking to the shops in the car, before my wife woke up. This was me confirming that I was safe to drive!

I started driving again 6 months later. Whilst being fine actually driving, I found that my special awareness when parking caused a couple of scrapes during the months afterwards.

Thanks for your reply. Good to hear you're driving again. Best of luck and hopefully no more scrapes! I'm hoping dad can return to it once he's given the ok.

Best wishes

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