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HealthInfo Canterbury

Safe driving in early dementia

Being diagnosed with dementia doesn't necessarily mean you need to stop driving straight away. Many people continue to drive safely for some time after their diagnosis. When you eventually do have to stop driving it can be challenging to adjust to life without a car.

Warning signs that dementia may be affecting your driving include:

You may benefit from some driver refresher training from Age Concern to improve your confidence and skills while you are still safe to drive. Also see Age Concern's information about how to stay mobile without driving.

Your GP may refer you for an occupational therapy assessment to check your fitness to drive. A driving assessment may be carried out by the Burwood Driving Assessment Service.

If you're worried about someone else's safety to drive

If you are worried that a friend or relative isn't safe to drive, talk to them about your concerns. They may recognise they are beginning to place themselves and others at risk. If they don't recognise the risk and don't believe they need to stop driving, talk to their GP or other healthcare professional about your concerns. They will be able to assess the person's ability to drive and take action if necessary. Read the New Zealand Transport Authority leaflet below.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed August 2019.

See also:

Driving & transport for older people

Page reference: 46313

Review key: HIMLD-33325