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Stroke and Brain Injury

dot Driving after a Stroke/Traumatic Brain Injury
dot Warning Signs of Unsafe Driving
dot Learning to Drive following a Stroke/Brain Injury
dot Frequently Asked Questions

Driving After A Stroke / Traumatic Brain Injury

Returning to drive following a brain injury can be an important part of the rehabilitation process. It can increase a person’s independence, confidence and contributes to an improved quality of life. It also has positive benefits for family, friends etc. in raising awareness and reassuring loved ones of a person’s potential .

However, driving is a complex task requiring visual,  perceptual, cognitive and physical interaction. Many deficits following a brain injury can affect a person’s ability to drive safely.

Some people may have poor insight as to the affects of their injury and may not realise the extent of their deficits.

Before returning to drive, one should first allow sufficient time to recover. This recovery time will vary from person to person. Having allowed the necessary time to recover, one should then contact their GP and comply with the Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines. The minimum time before returning to drive is one month.  However, additional recovery time may be necessary depending on the severity of your brain injury.View/Download RSA ‘Sláinte agus Tiomáint’ >>(PDF format).

Following your GP assessment, you may be referred for an on-road driving assessment. For more information see Driving Assessments.

Following a brain injury and before returning to drive, you may require a driver rehabilitation course. For more information see Driving Courses.

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Warning Signs Of Unsafe Driving

Drives too fast or too slow for the road or traffic conditions
Delayed in reacting to traffic or road conditions ahead
Fails to notice traffic lights or traffic signs
Gets easily frustrated or confused
Drifts across lanes, or fails to stay within their own side of the road
Travelling too close to the kerb or too close to parked vehicles
Needs instruction from the passengers when making decisions
Difficulty sequencing the pedals, gears or other controls
Forgetting to observe or use mirrors safely
Getting lost in familiar areas

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Learning To Drive Following A Stroke / Brain Injury

Having followed your GP’s advice, and complied with the medical guidelines, you may then apply for a learner permit.

Visit RSA Learner-Drivers >>

However, learning to drive for the first time following a brain injury, a driver may demonstrate regular driving errors that appear to be cognitive. Therefore, allow ample practice time before reaching a conclusion. 
Having allowed plenty of practice and if the difficulties persist, a driving assessment may be necessary. 
For more information, contact Southern Mobility Assessment and Tuition Specialists.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If I have a disability, do I need to inform my car insurance company ?
A. Yes. A driver is obliged to inform their car insurance company of any changes in their health that may affect their ability to drive safely.

Q. If I have a disability/illness, will I be charged extra for my car insurance?
A. No. A driver with a disability should not be charged extra, nor refused a quote solely based on their disability.

Q. I have a full driver’s licence. I recently had my car adapted and will be returning to drive. Do I have to retake my driving test ?
A. No. Provided you hold a full licence for the vehicle you are driving, if you have it adapted and return or continue to drive, you are not required to retake a driving test.

 

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