Many people are nervous about beginning to drive again after ICU.
This can be due to:

  • injury
  • disability
  • fatigues
  • weakness
  • being unsure of the legal obligations

How your driving may change after ICU

Changes that can occur when driving after an injury or long illness are:

  • your reaction and judgement is affected
  • you have anxiety and nervousness at the wheel
  • the way you drive has changed and some things feel different

You may not be able to drive immediately after discharge. During recovery and rehabilitation many patients begin taking steps to start driving again.

Your obligations

The Department of Transport in your state or region must be notified if:

  • you have a medical condition that affects your ability to drive
  • you have a disability that affects your ability to drive
  • you are taking medicines that affect your ability to drive

Examples of notifiable medical conditions

  • heart disease
  • epilepsy and other neurological conditions
  • stroke
  • traumatic brain injury
  • lung disease

Examples of notifiable injuries and disabilities

  • limb amputation
  • partial paralysis
  • complete paralysis

Examples of notifiable medicines

  • strong pain-relief medications such as opioids

If you are unsure please contact your local Department of Transport and talk to them. A family doctor may need to fill out a “Fitness to Drive” assessment. Driving requirements are different for private vehicles, commercial and heavy vehicle licences.

Having a medical condition, disability or taking a strong medication doesn't always mean you can't drive.

“Fitness to Drive” assessment

Talk to your GP about whether you should request a “Fitness to Drive” assessment. This can then be submitted to the Department of Transport for approval.

Related topics

This topic was reviewed by an intensive care medicine specialist in July 2022.

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