Driving and DVLA
Some MS symptoms can cause difficulties with driving, such as vision problems, fatigue or mobility difficulties. These are often part of a relapse and therefore temporary. Most people hold off driving until their symptoms have improved.
This page covers:
You can get advice on what kind of car you need at the Motability Assessment Centre website.
If you're aged between 16 and 24 and on the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance, you may be eligible for help towards the cost of driving lessons.
If you have a driving licence, you have to let the DVLA know when you have been diagnosed with MS.
It is clearly very important for people with MS to carry on driving, and the DVLA realise this. It is unusual for anyone with MS to have a licence refused, unless their symptoms are very severe.
The DVLA will send you a medical questionnaire and may write to your doctor. It's important that your GP is aware of your specific symptoms to provide an accurate report to the DVLA.
The GOV.UK website has the relevant information that you will need.
If there are no serious medical problems, the DVLA will write back and confirm your licence.
People with MS are normally issued a three year licence instead of a ten year one. This is because MS is unpredictable and symptoms can change a lot over time.
Even if MS affects your ability to drive in a regular car, it might still be possible to carry on driving with adaptations to a vehicle. See our publication “Motoring with MS” for more details.
The types of practical adaptations you can make include having hand controls installed (so you don't have to use foot pedals) or an adjustable driver’s seat to allow entry from a wheelchair if you use one.
The Motability Scheme provides affordable, convenient motoring to over 400,000 disabled customers and their families.
The Blue Badge Scheme gives parking concessions if, for example, you find it difficult to walk from the car to the shops or other places you want to go.
The scheme allows a vehicle displaying a valid badge in the correct place and driven by a disabled person, or with a disabled person as passenger, to park more easily.
Find out how more and apply for a Blue Badge one on GOV.UK website.
Parking in a disabled bay
If you have a blue badge it is your right to park in a designated bay.
But how do you feel about it? Maybe you drive a sports car and feel weird about using the bay on days where you feel ok. You might feel that people are looking at you suspiciously because you may not use a mobility aid that day.
Remember that 'hidden' symptoms such as fatigue are just as valid as 'visible' ones, and saving yourself a long walk could help with fatigue or other symptoms.
There are still many misconceptions about what constitutes a 'disability', and unfortunately not everyone knows how MS can affect people.
If you have been issued with a blue badge, this recognises your need and your right to use a disabled bay if you wish.