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Driving after a stroke: a guide to the rules and regulations

4 min read |

If you are recovering from a stroke, you may wonder, ‘What are the rules on driving after a stroke?’

Losing the ability to drive can be distressing, but don’t despair as you may be able to get back on the road.

First, you must prioritise your recovery, before following the regulations to get back in the driving seat.

This article will explain the rules for driving after a stroke, how to deal with the DVLA and everything else you need to know.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • Getting back in the driver’s seat can be a challenge, but with time you can regain your ability to drive.
  • You’ll need to consult your GP and inform the DVLA during your recovery
  • Routine tasks such as driving your car may be something you need to re-learn after experiencing a stroke. 
  • Even if you are told to stop driving, you can still retain your independence with other transport options.
recovering from a stroke

Can you drive after a stroke?

It might feel frustrating, but you must wait at least a month after having a stroke before you can contemplate driving again.

Once the month has elapsed, you need to consult your GP about your symptoms and whether it is safe to resume driving.

This applies to any type of stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA), as you may still feel the effects during recovery. 

Although it may be a long journey, you must prioritise your health before you return to the road. 

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Do I need to inform the DVLA?

It’s important to notify the DVLA that you’ve had a stroke, as they can fine you up to £1000 if you don’t.

The rules still apply if you continue to feel uneasy one month after your stroke, as you could become a hazard on the road. 

Remember to tell your motor insurance provider, too, as your policy may become invalid if you forget.

Car and motorcycles

This rule applies to car or motorcycle license holders, as the suspension period is shorter than for large vehicle drivers. 

Other vehicles

If you drive a large vehicle – like a coach, bus or lorry – then you may have to wait for at least one year before you can drive those again. 

This is a longer period since the DVLA may hold your license for a year or more, compared to car and motorcycle owners. 

If you feel any changes in your experience when you are driving, it’s important to go to your doctor to get advice straight away.

back behind the wheel

What will the DVLA want to know?

When reporting your condition to the DVLA, there is some key information to disclose. 

They need to know if you have any pre or post-stroke medical conditions to determine your ability to drive. 

Notifying the DVLA will protect you in terms of keeping your insurance valid if you get into an accident due to your condition.

This will allow you to be legally and financially secure if any further issues arise.

Why can’t I drive straightaway?

There are many reasons why people recovering from a stroke have to wait before they can drive again. 

A healthcare professional such as your GP has to be satisfied with your recovery before they give you the all-clear. 

Post-stroke, you may have difficulties following road signs and speed limits, so the DVLA must be satisfied you can drive safely.

Following guidelines gives you time for your body to recover fully so you have the best chance of being fit to drive.

blue badge uk

What if I can’t drive anymore?

If you have been told not to drive, you may feel concerned and worried, but this doesn’t mean you’ll lose your independence. 

Firstly, you may find that using public transport is cheaper as it eliminates the need for vehicle tax, insurance, etc.

Public transport is also low-cost, so even if you are prevented from driving, you can still find a way to get out and about.

Alternatively, the blue badge scheme is a great tool to help with parking so you can share rides with a trusted loved one. 

 

take the bus

Alternative transport

If your stroke has left you with a permanent or long-term disability, then you may qualify for additional transport support. 

There are a range of discount cards available, such as the Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass, to save you money.

Transport services are also another option, as many services are adapted for wheelchair and mobility users.

Disabled person’s rail card

This version of the rail card only costs £20 for a year or £54 for three years and can give you a third off on all rail travel.

Dial a bus

The dial-a-bus scheme has buses built for wheelchair accessibility, it’s suitable for those who use apparatus to support them on journeys. 

Taxicard

A Taxicard offers subsided taxi fares in licensed taxis and private hire vehicles, helping people to get out and about. 

Red Cross

The British Red Cross provides mobility support such as offering transportation for a small mileage fee.

be positive about driving again

Look to the future

Recovery may be long and laborious, but by taking care of your health, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.

In some cases, this might mean you have to learn skills that were second nature before going through a stroke.

Completing a driving assessment will help you get used to manoeuvring again and support you when transitioning to the road. 

There are bound to be frustrations, but taking your time will be the best way to move forward. 

find home care online

Do you find organising care complicated?

Here at Sweet Pea, we make things safe and simple so you can find quality home care easily. 

You can enter your loved one’s details and get matched with a care provider in your local area. 

With Sweet Pea’s friendly features like our family groups, you can have everything all in one place and manage your care online.