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  • Writer's pictureRicha Shetty

Can I drive on Roads with Medical Conditions?

Your fitness to drive affects the safety of other road users because your health affects your perception, response time, ability to control the vehicle, and ability to judge situations. In March 2012 new medical standards came into effect for all drivers whether in a private or commercial vehicle. This is a substantial document that you can view here if you are a health professional such as an optometrist, physiotherapist, or psychologist, as it explains how to assess a person’s fitness to drive. It is the document that your doctor will use if you have a medical issue that might affect your driving.

But if you’re a driver, you need an overview to understand whether you need to see a doctor or specialist.

driving on the road with medical condition

The Important Health Conditions that can Impair your Driving

  • blackouts and fainting

  • cardiovascular (heart) disease

  • diabetes

  • musculoskeletal conditions

  • neurological conditions such as epilepsy, dementia, and cognitive impairment due to other causes

  • psychiatric conditions

  • substance misuse/dependency

  • sleep disorders

  • vision problems

  • age-related decline – changes in motor, cognitive and sensory abilities together with degenerative disease

  • temporary injuries such as broken bones

  • pain, e.g. post-surgery

  • pregnancy (if it causes hypertension or faintness, or is post-caesarian section)

  • some multiple conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and paralysis of any part of the body

The above conditions will not necessarily affect your ability to drive; they might just mean you need to see a doctor or specialist more frequently, possibly take medication to mitigate the effects of the condition, or restrict your driving, for example, during the day only. For some conditions which are likely to worsen such as macular degeneration or dementia, eventually, you may not be able to drive, so you will need to regularly see your doctor get this assessed.

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