Seizures and Driving
Seizures and driving can be a dangerous combination. People who have seizures while driving could lose control of their cars and hurt themselves and others. Most states will not issue a driver's license to someone with epilepsy, unless the person can document that he or she has gone a specific amount of time without a seizure. Many people are able to return to driving once their seizures are under control.
An Overview of Seizures and Driving
For most people, driving represents freedom, control, and competence. Driving enables most people to get to the places they want or need to go. For many people, driving is important economically -- some drive as part of their job or to get to and from work. Others drive to be able to shop for necessities, to maintain social connections, or to participate in activities.
Driving is a complex skill. Our ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in our physical, emotional, and mental condition.
The Impact of Seizures
Having a seizure can cause you to lose control of your body, change the way you act and sense things, or make you pass out suddenly. If you have a seizure while you are driving, you could lose control of your car and cause a crash. You could hurt yourself and others.
Most states (and the District of Columbia) will not issue a driver's license to people with epilepsy, unless they can document that they have gone a specific amount of time without a seizure (the waiting period varies from a few months to several years). Some states make exceptions for this policy when seizures don't impair consciousness, occur only during sleep, or have long auras or other warning signs that allow people to avoid driving when a seizure is likely to occur.