Driving after stroke

You are not allowed to drive for a month after a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA). Some people have to stop driving for longer, or will not be able to drive again. You should always get individual advice from your doctor about your stroke and any other health conditions that affect your driving.

The team of stroke professionals involved in your care may help with assessing the skills you need for driving. They can also advise whether it is safe for you to return to driving. Read the below to find out more, and check online stroke.org.uk/driving.

Key points

  • You must not drive for a calendar month after a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

  • It is your responsibility to tell the DVLA (DVA in Northern Ireland) about any medical condition that affects your driving.

  • If you have a licence to drive a large goods vehicle (LGV) or passenger carrying vehicle (PCV), you must tell the DVLA about your stroke or TIA straight away.

  • Car and motorbike drivers don’t usually need to tell the DVLA about a stroke in the first month, but there are some exceptions.

  • If you have a car or motorbike licence, and you can drive safely, you may be able to start driving again after a month. But it depends on what type of stroke you had, and other health conditions like epilepsy.

Do I need to tell the DVLA/DVA about my stroke?

No, if:

If you drive a car or motorbike and you had a single transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke with no brain surgery or seizures, you can usually start driving again after one calendar month. You only need to tell the DVLA/DVA if your stroke affects your ability to drive.

The exception is if you had a type of stroke due to a bleed in the brain. See below for more information. If you are not sure, always get individual advice about your stroke or the effects of stroke from your stroke team or GP.

Yes, if:

You must notify the DVLA/DVA if any of the following apply:

  • You are a Group 2 driver (lorry and bus).

  • Your ability to drive has been affected.

  • You had several TIAs.

  • You had more than one stroke in three months.

  • You had a subarachnoid haemorrhage (brain bleed).

  • You had any seizures.

  • You had brain surgery.

  • Your doctor tells you not to drive.

  • If your disability or health gets worse.

Car and motorbike drivers

One calendar month after a stroke or TIA, if your stroke has affected your driving, you must tell the DVLA/DVA. See the next page for more information about how stroke can affect driving ability.

If you had a type of haemorrhagic stroke (bleed in the brain) called a subarachnoid haemorrhage, you must tell the DVLA/DVA.

If you are not sure what type of stroke you had, speak to your stroke team or GP. If you need to drive a vehicle with adapted controls, you must tell the DVLA/DVA, as you need changes to your driving licence.

Large vehicle drivers

If you drive a large vehicle such as a lorry or bus, you must tell the DVLA/DVA about your stroke or TIA as soon as possible. You can’t drive for a minimum of one year after the stroke or TIA. Whether you can drive again will depend on the type of stroke you had, and how the stroke has affected you. If you are unsure, ask your GP or a member of your stroke team, and speak to the DVLA/DVA.

What if my doctor says I should not drive?

If your doctor tells you to stop driving for three months or more, you should contact the DVLA/DVA to tell them about your medical condition. You might need to send back your driving licence, but wait until you speak to the DVLA. They will tell you what to do next.

Information

Other resources

Stroke Association Helpline
Helpline: 0303 3033 100
Email: helpline@stroke.org.uk
Contact us for information about stroke, emotional support and details of local services and support groups.

Blue Badge Scheme

Blue badge applications are processed by your local council. You can apply online using the links above. Or you can contact your local council to apply by telephone or post.

British Insurance Brokers' Association
Consumer helpline: 0370 950 1790
An organisation that can help you find insurance brokers in your local area.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) England, Scotland and Wales
Drivers' medical enquiries: 0300 790 6806

Disabled Motoring UK
Phone: 01508 489 449
Email: info@drivingmobility.org.uk
A network of centres that offer information and assessment to drivers with disabilities. Contact them to find out where your nearest mobility centre is located and for more information about the services that the centres provide.

Disabled person’s railcard (England, Wales, Scotland)
Phone: 0345 605 0525
This offers a third off rail fares for eligible disabled people in England, Scotland and Wales.

Motability
Phone: 0300 456 4566
The Motability scheme enables people with disabilities to hire cars, powered wheelchairs or scooters.

National Association for Bikers with a Disability
Phone: 0844 415 4849
Email: office@thenabd.org.uk
A charity providing information, support and grants to help disabled people enjoy independent motorcycling.

National Federation of Shopmobility UK
Phone: 01933 229 644
Email: shopmobility@bhta.com
The federation can tell you if there is a Shopmobility scheme near you.

NIDirect Motoring (Northern Ireland)
Phone: 0300 200 7861
Email: dva@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

Regional Driving Assessment Centre
Phone: 0300 300 2240
Email: info@rdac.co.uk
An independent charity dedicated to helping people who are or would like to be drivers or passengers in their own vehicle in order to be independent.

RiDC (the Research Institute for Consumer Affairs)
Phone: 020 7427 2460
Email: mail@ridc.org.uk
This charity provides free, practical and unbiased reports for disabled consumers, including guides to mobility motoring and public transport.

Translink
Phone: 02890 666 630
Runs a travel scheme called SmartPass that offers concessions for older people and those claiming Disability Living Allowance in Northern Ireland.

Transport for London (TfL)
Phone: 0343 222 1234
Email: tflaccessibility@tfl.gov.uk
TfL provides information on assisted travel in London, large print and audio versions of their tube maps, maps with details of the step-free stations and a Getting Around London guide.

Transport for Scotland
Phone: 0141 272 7100
Email: info@transport.gov.scot
Runs the National Entitlement Card scheme, offering free bus travel for older and disabled people in Scotland.

Disclaimer: The Stroke Association provides the details of other organisations for information only. Inclusion on My Stroke Guide does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement.