Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Dementia can make driving difficult as it can affect memory, concentration, judgement and vision.

Dementia can make driving difficult as it can affect memory, concentration, judgement and vision.
beginning of content

Dementia and driving

2-minute read

Dementia can affect your memory, concentration, judgement and vision, which makes driving a car more difficult. If you have dementia, regular medical check-ups can help you keep track of your condition and whether it's safe for you to drive.

What is dementia?

Dementia is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday tasks.

There are many causes of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Dementia is more common in older people but can affect people in their 40s and 50s.

How does dementia affect driving ability?

Dementia can make driving unsafe because it affects memory, concentration, judgement and vision.

If you have dementia, this can cause problems for driving, such as:

  • getting lost or confused in familiar areas
  • forgetting the purpose of the trip
  • ignoring traffic lights or ‘stop’ signs
  • not seeing vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists
  • difficulty parking
  • slower reactions
  • difficulty using the brake, accelerator or steering wheel

Starting a conversation about driving

It can be hard to talk about driving with someone who has dementia, as they might see it as their right, and certainly a habit. They might see their inability to drive as a very big loss and a decrease in their independence.

  • Discuss their driving habits, so you can find other transport options to keep them active and socially connected.
  • Arrange for more home visits so they don't need to drive.
  • Be positive that their roles in life – for example, a grandparent or partner – will continue without driving.
  • Explain how dementia affects them – while their driving record may be safe, this won’t always be the case.
  • Talk finances – no more paying for registration, insurance and petrol.
  • Encourage regular visits to their doctor and other health professionals to check medication, eyes, diet and general health, to help maintain some independence.

Legal requirements: driving tests and medical clearance

Having dementia doesn’t mean you must stop driving, but to keep driving you will need a medical assessment from your doctor using the Assessing Fitness to Drive National Standards.

Legally, you must notify your state’s road traffic authority about your dementia. If you continue to drive and are a serious risk on the roads, your doctor is legally authorised and obliged to notify authorities.

When to stop driving

Your doctor can advise you to stop driving but your state or territory driver licensing authority ultimately makes the decision.

More information

The Dementia Australia website provides information and resources about dementia and driving in each state:

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: October 2018


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Dementia and driving | Dementia Australia

*/

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Help with Dementia | Dementia Australia

Help with Dementia is an online support portal for people living with dementia, their families and carers

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Is it dementia? | Dementia Australia

The Is It Dementia website was decommissioned in June 2018. Is It dementia is an education workshop designed to broaden dementia knowledge for customer-facing staff in the banking, c

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Dementia Resources | Dementia Australia

The Dementia Resources blog is produced by the Victorian library of Dementia Australia . Blog is updated every 3- 4 weeks, is topic based and covers a range of resources.

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Dementia In My Family | Dementia Australia

Dementia in My Family offers valuable resources and information for children and adults who either know someone living with dementia or have dementia in the family.

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Dementia language guidelines | Dementia Australia

The purpose of this paper is to promote the consistent use of appropriate, inclusive and non stigmatising language when talking or writing about dementia and people living with dementia.

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Dementia and chronic conditions series toolkit | Dementia Australia

There is increasing evidence that a number of different chronic conditions are associated with the development of cognitive impairment and dementia. The Dementia and Chronic

Read more on Dementia Australia website

LGBTI resources | Dementia Australia

Resources LGBTI and dementia

Read more on Dementia Australia website

The Dementia Guide | Dementia Australia

*/

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Men's Shed manual | Dementia Australia

Your shed and dementia, a manual Read or download the Men's Shed dementia manual here.

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo