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Health Tip: Driving With Epilepsy

Ways to keep yourself and others safe

(HealthDay News) -- Can you drive a car if you have epilepsy? Yes, says the Epilepsy Foundation, if your seizures are controlled with treatment and you meet the licensing requirements in your state.

How long you have to be free of seizures varies by state -- usually between three months and a year. Some states don't count seizures that only take place during sleep, don't impair consciousness (commonly called auras), or are preceded by a very long warning.

When you apply for a license, some states require that your doctor send a letter to the Department of Motor Vehicles stating that you are free of seizures and, in his or her opinion, can drive safely.

If you are allowed to drive, the Epilepsy Foundation says you should follow these suggestions to help protect yourself and others:

  • If your doctor changes your medicine, don't drive until you know how the change is going to affect you.
  • If you have a seizure, don't drive yourself to the doctor's office afterward. If you need medical attention, call a friend or take other transportation.
  • Don't drive if your seizure control isn't good enough to get a license, or if you start having seizures again after getting a license. Insurance may not cover you in an accident under these circumstances.
Consumer News