Can I return to driving after a Stroke?
Driving can be dangerous after a stroke because a stroke can cause physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral changes. Damage to your brain and other parts of your nervous system may affect your ability to drive.
You may have weakness, stiffness, and pain, and have problems moving, talking, seeing, touching, or problem-solving. A stroke can also cause inability to move (paralysis) on one side of your body.
Ask your health care provider when it is safe for you to drive. Laws on driving after a stroke vary by state. Your health care provider may recommend that you:
- Get a driving evaluation to have your vision, thinking, reaction time, and driving skills tested.
- Take a driving rehabilitation program for people who have had a stroke.
- Take a driving class or a retraining program.
How is driving affected by a stroke?
A family member may be the first to notice that it is not safe for you to drive. You may have problems with:
- Your vision.
- Talking and communicating.
- Weakness, pain, and stiffness in your arms or legs.
- Responding to changes on the road.
- Using the steering wheel, pedals, and other parts of the car.
- Thinking while driving.
- Judgment on the road.
What are some signs that it may not be safe for me to drive?
Signs that driving may be unsafe for you include:
- Driving too fast or too slowly.
- Needing help from others while driving.
- Not paying attention to street signs or signals.
- Making bad decisions while driving.
- Not keeping enough distance between cars.
- Drifting into other lanes.
- Becoming confused, angry, or frustrated.
- Getting lost in familiar places.
- Having accidents while driving.
What is adaptive equipment?
Adaptive equipment refers to devices that can help people who have had a stroke to drive and do other activities. You may need:
- A wheelchair-accessible car.
- Special hand controls in the car.
- Pedal extensions for the car.
- A seat base to help you stay positioned in your seat.
- Lifts and ramps to help you get in and out of the car.
- Damage to your brain and other parts of your nervous system may affect your ability to drive.
- Ask your health care provider when it is safe for you to drive again. You may need to take steps such as getting a driving evaluation or taking a driving class.
- A family member may be the first to notice that it is not safe for you to drive.
- You may need adaptive equipment to drive safely.