Driving again but not like before!

Hello folks! I have started to drive again. However it is not as I imagined. I thought that I would just start to drive like I did before. But I drive like someone who has just passed their test. I am hesitant and not very confident. I am only driving very locally until I feel better. It seems I need to think harder than before. I hope with practise it will become more natural.

I was wondering how others got on with their driving after acquiring a BI?

22 Replies

  • Keep at it your confidence will grow and it will all come back. You may find yourself still being a little cautious...no bad thing.

    My wife says I drive like an old man.....Then again I am one so maybe I am back to normal.

    Just think of the freedom it gives you and the independence as well. So what if you drive a little slower. You may find slowly building up your distances a good idea as it can be tiring.

    Happy motoring.


  • That is how I would describe my driving now...like and old man! And there are plenty of them in my town. I now stop if road is too narrow for two vehicles and am ultra cautious but hey who cares? it is illegal to drive like a big girl's blouse!!!!! Having a BI makes me feel much older anyway. I want to be able to drive again so that I am safe to go back to my volunteer driving. Thanks Pax, I like the vibe of your message...it is spot on!

  • Have you checked with your GP or neurologist if you need to notify the DVLA?

    I was almost a year on from my accident (and had been driving short distances without incident) when I was told that I MUST notify the DVLA.

    In terror I did and thankfully they did not take my licence off me but put me on a short licence and I had to go for a driving assessment at the end of that.

    Enjoy your driving.

  • I did surrender my licence etc etc and am now in process of getting it back. The DVLA kindly informed me of a provision in the Road Traffic Act 1988 which basically states that pending the return of my licence, if I feel confident that my application for the return of my licence will not be refused, I can drive, pending the return of my licence. A few weeks a go, I did ask my neuropsychologist and neurosurgeon if I was okay to drive in their opinion and they both said yes. So I am confident I am 'good to go'. I most certainly would not be driving if I thought I was a danger to anyone. And on any long journeys my husband still has to drive me until I get my licence back. In time I am sure I will get to enjoy my driving once my brain gets used to it!!

  • Thank you for sharing that information. I want to apply for my licence whenn my symptoms are better, and I've been told lots of stories about people having to wait months for their application to be processed. The hosptal, made me surrender my licence so I didn't know there was any option to not surrender it. If I could drive locally on days I feel well, it would be a very good way to get my confidence back and see how it feesl. I'm concerned about so many aspects of driving mainly due to the knock to my confidence of not being able to do normal stuff for such a long time, but things have improved this year. Things have (as everyone said at the beginnings) gotten better in the second year and slowly but surely skills have come back but by bit. Driving would be such a luxury. I'll contact DVLA and see what they say about it . Thank you for posting about this......a short licence or trail period seems like s very fair system. What good news that is :)

  • If the medics advised you to surrender your licence that is what the the law says you should do. When I surrendered my licence I also completed a DVLA form about the reason. Then a year later less 8 weeks from day of operation, they said I should re-apply. I phoned them up and they sent me a form. I took no notice of others stories. Speak to your doctors etc and speak to DVLA. You should only drive once you are legally covered.

  • Hello magdola

    I know exactly what you are on about. The first time I tried to drive I felt really tired and couldn't work out how to reverse.

    After my first crainiotomy I didn't drive for 12 months but after my third I tried driving very short distances. I now drive myself to work and want to drive to Devon in September which is a 3 hour drive. I will be taking breaks along the way.

    My advice is to do little journeys as often as you can. But listen to your body. If your tired do not get behind the wheel. Better to be safe than sorry

  • Good advise and exactly what I am doing, ie lots of practice on short trips with little traffic. I live in the Highlands so the roads are pretty quiet. All the best on your trip to Devon.

  • Hi. Sadly nothing much is exactly as it was before after an ABI and driving is no different. I had to be assessed and was cleared but found it very stressful - having to focus on several things at once, often with chatting kids in the back- react fast, concentrate and remember where I was going :/ It gave me freedom but I had a minor prang and decided that life was better without a car. Saved money and got extremely fit.

  • True and very positive :) I've worn out several pairs of shoes since I've had no car..... I worry about the focussing and tiredness as well. It good to read your post. I would be the same.....if I didn't feel I was up to it I'd stop. I glad you had a go. You may come back to it in years to come, but you're an inspiration.

  • Hi

    My mum can drive but she prefers to drive with a passenger for company in case the car breaks down. She has had PCS after a bump to the head but is getting back more to her normal self. Driving comes naturally to her and she just does it. The roads are quiet where she lives but the village areas and smaller towns are a bit busy. She has driven in both. It's also about confidence and this can impact other areas of life in addition to driving. She does not like driving alone even just 2 minutes to the local shops, but when she eventually did go out herself she said it felt like normal.

    Keep driving on the quieter local roads until you feel better. When you want to go further, take an experienced driver as your passenger. Did you ever think about booking a few sessions with a driving instructor to get back into it?

    Good luck

  • Thanks for your reply. it is good to hear of others experience. My husband says I drive okay. I am possibly a bit over cautious. I am sure practice will make perfect in due course.

  • Hi,

    I was exactly the same as how you are describing. The more I drove the better I became with decision making but I was really hesitant to begin with. I started taking Omega 3 capsules which helped me enormously with memory and decisions but that is just me.

  • I have been driving every day for a week now, and I can notice an improvement which is reassuring. I have to really concentrate and the fatigue is in unavoidable but I now feel much more positive about my driving. I couldn't walk at one stage but I retrained my body and now I can walk.

  • I struggled really badly with concentration but the Omega 3 really helped as it makes the electricity in the brain run much more smoothly. It's like everything else - PATIENCE and try not to get frustrated!!


  • It's gets better over time. First time after my operation I had a panic attack going in the car the first time but luckily I drove with my husband in the passenger seat, so he then took over.

    He then went in the car with me everyday for 2 weeks to work until I got confident again !

  • Just take it steady. Better to be over cautious, than under cautious!

    Took me several months to get "back to normal" and still don't really do mega long journeys.

    I live on my own and usually travel alone.....probably a good thing as I would hate someone telling me how my driving is all the time whether I had been ill or not !!

    Keep safe ☺

  • My parents borrowed my car while I couldn't use it, so the first time I drove the car was a quick pothole around my folks then 160 miles back home. In spite of this rather rash move, it was fine we stopped lots, my wife was with me.

    The main issue is tiredness and being careful with this since I can feel fine but lack the focus and clarity to be in charge of 1.5 tons that is capable of doing double the national speed limit.

    One thing we did do, is when the car died, we got a larger car that is easier and less tiring for longer journeys which I find helps a lot.

  • I was allowed to drive about 4 months after my SAH. I drove just locally for quite some time, but still can't do long distance. 40 minutes is about my maximum time I can concentrate. And night time driving is still difficult a year down the line. I find the lights very difficult, so tend to stick to day light hours. It should hopefully improve in time, just take it slowly :)

  • I never liked driving at night especially as I get older and I don't imagine I will be doing night driving anymore unless I know the roads.

  • It took me 10 months to get my licence back after my SAH and I did find that pottering around locally wasn't a problem but I don't enjoy long journeys and feel less confident than before.

  • I have a congenital condition and have never been a very confident driver really, Its interesting to hear that others feel their BI has affected their confidence.

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