Epilepsy - driving and transport

Driving and travel can have a big impact on people's daily lives. Some of those we interviewed, who were diagnosed with epilepsy as adults, had been driving before they were diagnosed. Many said that they missed being able to drive because they were very much used to it. Not being able to drive came as an inconvenience to some and a huge disappointment to others.

Many people who had had to give up their driving licence discussed using other means of transport and adapting to public transport. Others discussed living in areas that had a good train service or living close to the train station.

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Some people had come to rely on trains and buses, and noted that having a car can be an extra expense. For those with poorly-controlled epilepsy, concessions on rail and bus are available and many recommended finding out about and making use of these.

Some people with poorly-controlled epilepsy are wary of travelling alone. Others described occasions when they had had seizures on the bus or train. A few recalled having had absence seizures and missing their stop. Sometimes the fear of missing stops and getting lost concerned people.

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Not being able to drive can also have an impact on work. A few people could no longer drive to customers and clients. One woman said she now had to use public transport for work. Another discussed moving home so that she could take the train to work. She also described the lack of independence she felt and some of the disadvantages of not being able to drive. One man, a vehicle technician, explained how he had had to temporarily change roles at work until he got his licence back.

Not being able to drive particularly affected those living in rural areas. Inability to drive also affected some people's families. Many people did not want to become a burden on others. Several recommended finding out about and using the travel concessions available to people with poorly-controlled epilepsy. A few people urged those with poorly-controlled epilepsy who were still driving, not to drive.

People with well-controlled epilepsy also discussed some of their concerns about driving. One man said that, although his epilepsy had been controlled for many years, he would not come off his medications because of the impact on driving should his seizures recur. Another man described the impact on driving when his seizures did recur. One woman, who was seizure free and off medications, discussed her plans to take driving lessons and explained how this would affect her life.

Last reviewed May 2016.
Last updated March 2014.



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