Other road users may be at risk
Driving is a complex task that requires you to concentrate for long periods and react quickly. You have to multitask, think ahead, plan, process information, and make correct split-second decisions to drive safely.
When someone has a brain injury, they may have trouble with some or all of these skills. A person with an obtained brain injury may not be able to concentrate as well as before (especially if there are distractions).
They might not react as quickly (because their reflexes aren’t as sharp) and could find it harder to think ahead and plan (because their ability to reason has been affected).
A person with an acquired brain injury may have problems with their memory, attention span, and problem-solving skills. This could make it difficult for them to perform everyday tasks such as cooking or cleaning.
People can still drive following a brain injury
Some people who have suffered a brain injury are still able to drive. However, many people cannot return to driving after a brain injury. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates (NHTSA) that about 30 percent of all drivers who suffer from a brain injury will never be able to drive again safely.
Even if you haven’t lost consciousness, you could be experiencing post-concussion syndrome and need medical attention before getting behind the wheel again. The best way to find out whether it’s safe to get behind the wheel is by having your doctor evaluate your health and giving them specific instructions on what they should look for when they examine you.
If there are any problems with your eyesight or balance—which are among some common symptoms of concussion—you should avoid driving until those issues have been resolved.
You shouldn’t drive if suffering from dizziness or seizures
If you’ve suffered a brain injury, your ability to drive safely may be compromised. Ensure you talk with your doctor about how long it’s safe for you to be going after an injury and what kinds of symptoms might mean that it’s time to stop driving. When the brain is injured, it can be life-changing effects. Brain injuries can be an outcome of a car accident or other traumatic accidents. Brain injuries are classified based on severity. When you suffer a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), your ability to think clearly may be affected but not enough to interfere with your daily life.
In moderate to severe instances, the person may experience confusion and changes in personality, behavior, and memory. If you’ve suffered a brain injury, your ability to drive safely is compromised.
Ensure to talk with your doctor about how long it’s safe for you to be going after an injury and what kinds of symptoms might mean that it’s time to stop driving. Essentially, your doctor has to give you medical clearance to return to driving after suffering a brain injury. In many cases, your doctor may refer you to complete an Occupational Therapy (OT) driving assessment.