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Driving and getting about

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Driving and getting about

Getting around and being independent is an important part of growing up. Find out about epilepsy and driving, transport, and travelling.

Learning to drive

If you have had no seizures for at least one year, you can learn to drive a car or motorbike at 17. When you apply for your provisional driving licence, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will need to know about your epilepsy, even if you are not currently having seizures.

The DVLA will ask you to fill in some forms, and they may also contact your doctor to ask about your epilepsy before they send you your Group 1 licence.

If you have a driving licence and have a seizure

If you have a seizure, by law you must stop driving, and tell the DVLA.

This means all types of seizures, including those where you are conscious. This is the case whether you are on anti-seizure medication (ASM) or not. The DVLA will ask you to return your licence to them.

This can be a tough thing to face, especially if it affects your freedom and independence. When you can apply to get your new licence depends on the number and type of seizures that you have. Giving up your licence voluntarily can make it quicker for the DVLA to give you a new one later.

Public transport and help with travel costs

If you do not drive because of your epilepsy you may be able to apply for help with travel costs, including free bus travel and reduced fares on trains using a Disabled Person’s Railcard

Travelling abroad

Having epilepsy does not usually stop people travelling by air. However long journeys, 'jet lag' or a change in sleeping pattern can trigger seizures for some people. You might want to talk to your GP or specialist about when to take medication if you are planning long distance travel.

It is a good idea to take enough medication for the whole trip, as some drugs may not be available or may have a different name in other countries. Your GP or the drug company that makes your medication may be able to tell you more about this. 

It is recommended that you keep all your medication (in its original containers) in your hand luggage. Current airport security regulations allow you to carry medication liquids up to 100ml in your hand luggage.

You will only be able to take liquid medication in a container larger than 100ml if you have a letter from your GP or specialist explaining about your epilepsy and the medication you take. You will also need a copy of your prescription. Airport security staff may open the container to screen the liquids at the security point.

Epilepsy Society is grateful to Dr F J Rugg-Gunn Consultant Neurologist & Honorary Associate Professor, Clinical Lead, Chalfont Centre for Epilepsy, who reviewed this information.

Information updated: November 2023

University and epilepsy

If you're considering going to university or if you’ve definitely decided that’s what you want to do, you’ll need to think about what this will mean for you in practical terms and about what support you might need, including financial support. Being well prepared will help you to make the most of your time at university.

Want to know more?

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