Driving is a complex task that requires many skills. After a stroke, your driving can be affected by vision problems, physical changes, thinking difficulties or increased fatigue or tiredness.
Do not drive for at least 2 weeks following a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or 4 weeks after a stroke. These times are longer if you hold a commercial licence.
You need medical clearance to return to driving. Your doctor can clear you to drive if you have made a good recovery from the stroke and you don’t have any remaining impairments that affect your ability to drive.
Your doctor may recommend an occupational therapy driving assessment if you have impairments after your stroke.
It is your legal responsibility to tell the licensing authority in your state if changes to your medical status have a permanent or long-term impact on your ability to drive.
You will not necessarily lose your licence when you report these changes. However, if you drive without obtaining medical clearance, or fail to inform the licensing authority of your health condition, you might be criminally liable if you have an accident. Also, your insurance will not cover you.
If you do have a driving assessment and are able to resume driving, it may be with your existing licence, or with conditions on your licence after completing a driver rehabilitation course. This may also include modifications to your vehicle.
If you’re unable to return to driving you’ll need to consider other forms of transport. This will depend on where you live and how well you can walk or move around.
Community services may be able to help with transport for shopping and medical appointments. Ask your health professional about what is available in your area.
People with a severe and permanent disability can also apply for subsidised taxi travel. Contact the taxi authority in your state.
For more information
To find out more about driving after stroke, see the Stroke Foundation’s Driving fact sheet.
Don’t drive for one month after a stroke.
Your doctor will tell you if you can drive.
Modifying your car
Your car can be modified to make it easier for you to drive.
An occupational therapist (OT) can talk to you about this.
Your drivers licence
You have to tell the people who issue your drivers licence if you have a stroke.
If you don’t tell them, you might not be covered by insurance if you have an accident.
Other ways to get around
If you can’t drive, there are other ways to get around.
Ask your doctor or social worker what help is available in your area.
You can also apply for a discount on taxi travel.