Doctor surprised I'm back driving after head injury

In July 2012 I was involved in a serious car accident, my main injury was serious head injury. I was in coma 8 days and made a very fast recovery. I do not remember the accident at all which is probably a good thing. I know pretty much everything that happened including by far the worst thing of losing my dog which if I did remember would haunt me. I know what happened as my insurance is trying to claim compensation for me and going over every detail of what they can find out happened.

For anyone interested in what happened read this if not skip to next paragraph. I was on m1 motorway on way home coming to junction to turn off I don't remember anything beyond this point, but for some unknown reason I missed my turning and hit the hard shoulder barrier. My car rebounded onto the middle lane of its roof facing on coming traffic were another car hit me. My poor dog was thrown onto the motorway and hit by another car. I guess he died instantly but not upsetting myself to find out. Already know more than I wanted to. Out of everything I went through with this accident the only thing that has bothered me much is losing my dog. Yes being in hospital and not being able to walk at start was boring but got over it.

After getting out of hospital just over a month after the accident I had an appointment with a doctor who had treated me while I was in a coma. He had told my mum I would walk in to see him at the appointment. My mum didn't believe him as I was still unconscious so really no one could of known how I would be when I came round. I did need physio for about a month, but by time I got home I was walking fine. When I had appointment with the doctor he was shocked that I was walking unaided and talking. He said he would of said it was perfectly normal if I'd not been able to talk and been in a wheel chair. That would of drove me mad if I had been like that I hated not being able the get up and move about at start.

Even while I was in hospital I said I would drive again, I needed another car and was no where near ready but in time I would drive. Really I think it was a good thing I didn't have a car then as the car I'd been driving at time of accident was written off. I've seen photos of it after the accident and its suprising anyone could of survived it. If I had still had a car I would of driven. I had not had my licence took off me so legally could of driven and do feel I would of been ok but considering the seriousness of the accident it was probably best to take things slow also even though I was allowed to drive I was told I had higher risk of having a seizure which definately would of effected driving. I informed DVLA about accident had an eye test passed it after over a year from the accident. Still no seizures and was allowed to drive so I got a car and was driving for 5 month with permission from DVLA then they decided I had to have a driving assessment. This was the most annoying thing as I had been driving and been safe felt fine yet now I had to prove I was safe. Seriously if anyone may not be safe driving why let them drive? It makes as much sense as letting a learner driver drive solo before passing the test. Anyway I took assessment did the memory bits fine which indicated I should be able to drive safely. Eyesight fine driving now it was an area I didn't know and car I wasn't used to and knowing I was being watched. I messed up a few little things due to no knowing area. So only now did I have to stop driving. I found out that my doctor at local hospital had recommended I had an assessment. Annoying but can see he was protecting his job not wanting me to have another accident. I had a few refresher driving lessons and passed the next assessment.

Today I saw the doctor who recommended I have assessment as my mum notices minor changes in me I don't notice. I told him I'd passed assessment and he seemed pleased and said I have proved him wrong as he didn't think I'd manage to pass assessment. I have no bad feelings towards the doctor at all I understand he was just making sure the accident wouldn't cause me to have another. The DVLA are totally different though their intentions were same they went about it totally wrong. Why did I have to have eye test and then months later an assessment which included eye test. Also why let someone who needs to have assessment drive alone before having assessment? I know they probably hadn't decided I needed assessment when I could drive before but if I wasn't safe driving after assessment which they decided I wasn't why was I allowed to drive before it I was as safe driving before as I would of been after.

14 Replies

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  • Don't forget they are not only protecting you but all other road users too.

    Well done anyway x Janet

  • its a minefeild! but wel, done!

  • Hi janet

    seems the DVLA work backwards. After my accident I was not in a fit state to drive. I informed them and of my condition. I got my epilepsy undrr control and after a year clear was told by the DVLA that I could drive. I still felt physically unable to so didnt drive. Then after a year or so decided to giveit a go . I had a few refresher lessons and informed the DVLA .

    Yep you guessed it I was then sent for an assesdment. I did psss but was downgraded to automatic cars only. Plus they removed the hgv element ad well. It strange how they said I was ok when I felt I want but then when I felt ok they asked for an assessment.

    Funny old world aint it.

  • Was you unable to drive manual? Doesn't make sense to me how they can think someone is safe to drive until they fail an assessment then not safe to drive. Ok fair enough assessments are to make sure you are safe to drive but why let people drive before them. It would make as much sense letting a learner driver drive solo before taking a test.

  • I agree its totally errrrr messed up ( polite version).

    Yep cant drive a manual anymore failed pedal pressure test. Must admit they gave me a couple of attempts before failing me but hey I can drive so its better than nothing.

    I thought I would fail as I have nerve damage affecting my left leg so wasnt suprised.

  • Hi Keeley n Paxo,

    The driving bit is a minefield. I've lost both car and HGV the HGV is gone permanently the consult tells me and the car will probably be lost for good.

    The DVLA rules for the HGV part is seizure free WITHOUT seizure control medication for a minimum of 10 years before considering re-assessment and issue of and 1 year license with annual medical review!

    Good luck with it all and well done for surviving the system.

  • It leaves me speechless, I don't drive but have been asked on more than one occasion why not, by my GP and consultants alike, evidently there's no reason why I shouldn't, but I know I wouldn't be comfortable.

    My reactions are a lot slower now and if there's too much going on round me I can get confused, so I don't, and won't put myself under the pressure of roads today.

    It worries me greatly that there must be a lot of people out there driving, that probably shouldn't, present company excepted, you've gone through the right channels and passed the assessment.

    Well done to you too. Janet xx

  • Hi Keeley

    I can't blame the dvla.

    I think they take a default position in terms of duty of care and either take away a licence or issue a one year one depending on the medical definitions of the injury.

    Many issues we have as survivors of bi do not show up until months later.

    In my case my one year licence has expired and I have been told I can still drive until the dvla notify me with either a new licence or assessment or taking it away. In that time I have found out what is wrong, am being monitored by a specialist and waiting for an appointment with another.

    It is so frustrating being on the receiving end of their deliberations.

    Not sure if any of this is even on topic just thought I would join in.

    Love n hugs

    Xoxo

  • It is annoying I've heard that some people can still develop effects of head I jury's many years after so that could support why DVLA do checks years later. But personally I would of rather been told I couldn't drive til I'd passed an assessment than being able to then having to stop even though nothing had changed in my health or driving. Everything I failed first one on was minor bad habits that could of been due to head injury but I knew it wasn't. Things like braking a bit late at times not like emergency stops just having to brake a bit harder than if I'd eased off accelerater a bit sooner. This is something I've always done and never had problems but it was seen as slow reactions through head injury. Also not having a clue of the roads made it harder as I had to be watching more to see what lanes to be in ect. I know seizures is one of things that can happen years later and it is the one thing that I've been most bothered about as I know that would stop me driving but not had any yet so not letting it bother me. Deal with it if it happens.

  • I had my licence revoked in 2011 after MECFS diagnosis. Most ME-ers dont have a problem but I was cognitively shot to pieces at the beginning (and still can be at times).

    I reapplied for my licence before Christmas. Last week I receieved my 4th letter from DVLA apologising for the delay, they are still undertaking enquiries. That's just the paperwork! Am beginning to wonder if I will get a decision this side of Christmas. Of coure they have the aneurysm and future surgery to factor in as well now...

    Having siad that I did manage to crash our ride on lawn mower the other week as I confused reverse and forward gears. Ended up in a hedge down a ditch. Perhaps a motorcar would be a step too far 8-0

  • I had my accident in January 2013. In South Africa, a Licence does not get taken away, so when I am over here I drive everywhere.

    I applied to change my Licence way back in November last year. I have had to do another eye test, and I should have got a response from them by the time I am back in the UK in 10 days time! I've no idea if I will get a UK Licence or not!

    WHat worries me is insurance! If I get a car, I'll pay up to £8000, but I've no idea if I will be able to afford the insurance. In SA I drove for 11 years without claims. I need to know roughly how much I will be looking at!

    If you can help me at all that would be great.

    Thanks!

    ☺️😉

  • I have no idea how insurance works in other countries and if you can carry the no claims on if you can it will lower the cost. A few tips for getting lower insurance at least in uk because £8000 is very high even for me. I've actually had the odd minor bumps through daft mistakes but since the big one in 2012 I've only had 1 which was put down as my fault as my car skidded to wrong side of road and hit a car head on car was wrote off but no injuries luckily. Even after this I have never paid more than £900 for insurance. So there must be some way to get yours down a lot.

    One big thing that I've used that does help to get a few £100 off and is easiest thing to put even if not needed. Add a second driver. You need to be the main driver if you will be driving most or all time even, but add someone who can also drive and has good driving history as a second driver. Even if there is no need to as it's never checked up if they have ever driven your car and even if they just drove it few a minute they would have to be named as a second driver by law. After my accident 3 years back I couldn't get insurarance under £1000 but then my mums mates husband said to try adding him as second driver and it knocked about £400 off. He did actually get to drive my car on that insurance as it was when I was not allowed to after failing assessment so did come in useful. Now I've got another car new insurance and he is still a second driver but is unlikely to ever need to drive my car but it's back up in case anything happens and I'm unable to drive for whatever reason he does have his own car as well.

    Other things that only knock bits off are engine size smaller engines cheaper. How new car is and how much it's worth older and cheaper cars are cheaper insurance. Where car is kept overnight locked garage is cheapest and I'm not sure if this can be checked on. I once had cracked wind screen because of snow falling off my house and had it on insurance it was in locked garage over night they came out and fitted new wind screen no questions about there being no garage. What you use car for. This im not sure if it can be checked but social is cheapest. How many miles you drive a year. This doesn't seem to do much at all but the less will be slightly cheaper but I think it can be checked if you have accident so for what you save it's probably not worth lying.

    Check one comparison websites confused.com and gocompare you can enter details and edit them to get best prices and see if certain changes make any difference and it gives you prices for a lot of insurance companies in one go rather than doing them individually.

    Hope this helps.

  • after my head injury...I found that driving is better for me then being the passenger, it made me less sick, ironic i know. but I believe the having to concentrate on driving, and the steering wheel gives me a ballance cue, it makes it better for me in traveling anywhere. crrrazzzzy.

  • I honestly don't mind driving or being passenger since my accident. Used to hate being passenger when learning to drive but that was because driving was new and exciting. Now it's just like anything else I do. I don't mind it but it's just convenient way to get about. But pleased I've proved a doctor wrong in managing to drive again. Even when I was still in hospital I never for one minute thought of not being able to drive again. My mum who obviously went through worse than me emotionally didn't want me to drive again but since I got a car she's got used to having a taxi as she can't drive. Actually after my car being wrote off early this year it was her wanting me to get another car.

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