Driving again after a brain injury??: My husband has... - Headway


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Driving again after a brain injury??


My husband has driven since 18 and it's one touchy subject. Just wondered if any advice is available from anyone on here. Obviously I know due to His brain injury driving might be impossible but I have read online some can drive again but everyone different. I have His sister telling me it will he never be possible and His daughter saying maybe one day, and when he comes home from hospital always asks why not using car when get bus or a taxi? His agitation has been less the last four days been home so that's positive but when I try and explain why can not drive due to a: he had a heart attack last Nov, and b: he has a brain injury that effects his memory, well he gets very annoyed and wants to literally do a test with doc to prove them wrong. So any advice would be good. I know if can drive might not be for a long time. Like said delicate topic!!

10 Replies

It is possible for him to have a driving test by a trained instructor who will do cognitive tests as well. Contact the DVLA for details of your nearest centre.

Owlgirl in reply to Hidden

ok ty, i know road to recovery will be a long one, but im sure if he can drive again one day he will feel alot more positive

I had to fill a form in after my aneurysm and traumatic brain injury to the DVla the specialist neurological nurse done a letter for me to go with the 20 page form the specialist neurological nurse gave me the form aswell there was a neurological consoltents on the panel to decide I had mine back in 2009 had it on September could not drive kept my licence got a reply back from dvla in December same year to say I could drive again you must contact DVLA Roland fill in a form with paperwork you can send in aswell I feel now I don’t want to drive but if I get bad I would Have to take a refresher driving lesson to see if I am capable to drive still which I would have to pay for but form to DVLA only cost time to fill in and if you send recorded delivery extra cost which I done or my wife did still driving after 8.5 years of my unseen brain injury contact it I can help can send my private e mail address if I can help

My husband drove with me as a passenger for 2 weeks until I got my confidence back . I had a SAH in March 2015 and I started to drive after 8 months. The first few times I drove I had a panic attack and my husband had to take over. The noises and coordination was too much for me. But by practicing it got better. I had to take off the radio or any other distractions in the beginning but now I am much better.

I am assuming that your husband has a neurologist involved in his care? He will need to find out from his Neurologist what they advise about driving. If discharged from hospital then he should discuss with his GP or any follow up consultant. If they say he shouldn't be driving yet or he needs to inform the DVLA then he needs to accept that because if he drives and is involved in an accident, even if it isn't his fault, his medical history will be gone through for the claim and if the Drs say he shouldn't have been driving, he will invalidate his insurance and will be breaking the law. To drive when he is not medically fit to do so is putting himself at risk and everyone else. There are certain conditions that have to be notified to the DVLA and that info can be found on the DVLA website. Sometimes the DVLA will get the ok to continue driving and not ask for the driving licence to be surrendered but he does need to go through this process. It is not only about physical ability to drive, it is also about cognitive ability eg reaction times. processing information of road situations, etc. If his brain injury caused him to have a fit then the criteria for epilepsy applies. It was thought that I had a subclinical fit when in a coma with inflammation and infection in my brain. I had to surrender my driving licence for a year until I could apply to get it back having had no further fits. Yes with a brain injury, cognitive fatigue can restrict how long we can manage to drive for which is often far less than before BI.


His neuro will know if he can have a driving assessment I had a stroke and although I have epilepsy as a result once I'm over two years no seizure he encourages me to have the assessment.

It seems there's a wide variation in protocol for driving after brain injury, maybe dependant on your postcode. I was driving again (after a Subarachnoid haemorrhage) within 3 months of discharge, after being warned it would be 12 months at least.

In hospital, the specialist nurse handed me a form to sign as soon as I became compos mentis, informing the DVLA of my condition and that I wouldn't drive until cleared to do so.

Two months later I was discharged then, at my recall appointment 3 months later, my surgeon showed me my latest MRI and said my recovery was 'Astonishing'.

He suggested I phone DVLA as soon as I got home to say my consultant had cleared me for driving, after the necessary physiological & cognitive testing and scan results. The DVLA thanked me for informing them (I'd never been asked to surrender my licence).

Others tell of re-training and re-testing and longer periods of waiting but this was my personal experience. But apparently, people who suffer seizures as a result of brain injury have to be seizure-free for 12 months.

Regards, Cat x

It will depend on the advice given on discharge and what conditions he has and what the DVLA feels for myself it was 6 months and get the Ok from the GP and I was good to go.

Was great to go back, not so much day to day but visiting friends/family which is dramatically easier by Car.

I drove pretty much straight after my TBI (probably in denial). My wife tends to do most of the driving now.


I had a stroke and was given the all clear at my 6 week check up appointment to drive again. The test I had to do was hold my arms out in front of me close my eyes and not let my arms drop. I was gobsmacked!!! I've actually been on a self imposed ban for almost 3 years because I know mentally I would've been a liability and wasn't prepared to take the risk. It's only been in the past month that I'm embarking on short stints of driving ...max I've managed is 10 mins on quiet roads with L plates on the car and hubby by my side. I'm mindful that I might never get back on main roads/motorway driving but I at least feel more confident about actually getting behind the wheel again. Good luck X

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