Driving assessment

Having now done 2 eye tests for the DVLA I am now required to do a driving assessment, has anyone else had to do this? I haven't driven for nearly 16 months and feel quite nervous about this. I think the main problem is normally before an assessment of any kind you practice but I am not able to do this, I cannot go out with a driving instructor as I have no licence at the moment. I have jumped through so many hoops for the DVLA and think this is going to be the hardest. Any advice?

Hi Katy! 

I was in the middle of writing a detailed reply to you when suddenly everything disappeared. Question: you mentioned you have no licence at the moment. Have you told this to DVLA? If they already told you the assessment centre you can have the assessment in I suggest you ring them and ask if you will be allowed to drive on the road (you will be driving on the road for about 40 - 50 minutes) as part of your initial assessment without a licence.

I kept my full licence because I refused to give it up until DVLA medically investigated me. Part of this investigation is the assessment. If you pass the initial assessment then you will be given 3 months to retrain yourself, you can choose to spend less than 3 months if you feel confident about your driving. I will reply detailing the assessment process later, if you want. 

But I suggest you make it clear first with DVLA and the assessment centre about the licence. In my head I always believed that you need either a full or provisional licence in order to be allowed to drive. I might be mistaken. 

Be patient. I haven't driven for almost 19 months when I had my initial assessment. Lots of dramas with DVLA. Wishing you the best. 

Ruby ☺

Hi Ruby,

Thanks for replying. I had to send my licence to the DVLA as I was advised that I couldn't drive for 6 months following my subarachnoid hemorrhage and that I was required to send it to them. I have been driven demented by the DVLA , I have done everything they've asked and now I'm expecting this letter explaining that I have to do an assessment. I can honestly say I'm dreading it. Did you do your assessment in your own car? I'm confused as to how I can do this as they have my licence, not sure that I would be insured.

Katy x

Good morning Katy!

First thing I will tell you: stop worrying. The people who will do the assessment - the driving instructor/tress and the Occupational Therapist - are there to help and support you to get driving again and be independent. If you can safely drive then they will make sure you can drive again. It was actually after reading a post here that I feel more confident and less worried about the assessment process. The post said the assessors are on your side. They are not there to make life more horrible. As long as they deem it is safe for us to be back on the road. Safe for us and other drivers and pedestrians. It was a very big help to know that before my assessment. And it is true based on my experience.

DVLA - well no point talking about how inefficient they are. We all know about it. I can only laugh about my whole experience with them. ? Just be patient and do everything you can to get yourself back behind that steering well and driving. 

Wishing you the best,

Ruby ☺

Hi Katy!

I will discuss in detail what you should expect from the assessment so your mind can get settled. First, either call DVLA or ask a driving instructor if you can drive a car without a licence, either full or provisional. If you already know the assessment centre you will be using then give them a call. Explain your circumstances. Confirm it from DVLA and a driving instructor and the assessment centre. It might sound paranoid but better be sure. During my own battle with DVLA there was a point when I called them for advice and whoever on the phone in Swansea gave me a totally wrong advice which caused me months of unnecessary frustration and confusion. Even my GP became so frustrated with DVLA. So I learned a lesson there.

Sort the licence business first then when things are clear about the licence move on from there. I will discuss the assessment process in detail when you get the confirmation. I found it easier to deal with things if I take one thing at a time. 

But while you are dealing with these things you can actually do something that might help improve your confidence and make you feel better on the whole. Do you have access to a car and do you have a family member (in my case it was my husband) or a friend who will be WILLING and kind to drive you to a place (in my case an empty big enough car park) where you can practice driving safely. I did my assessment after not driving for almost 19 months. On top of the vision loss I have drop foot so you can imagine how worried I was if I can still safely drive a car. I was worried I have forgotten how to drive, if my brain still know how to drive, LOL! So the week before my assessment my husband drove me to the car park. I would have been happy if I can turn on the key and drive the car a few yards in front of me. I was surprised that when I sat behind the steering wheel and turned on the key I was not happy just to drive a few yards. I drove (very slowly and carefully) and drove around the car park. Mind you I never went beyond 20mph (max) and 3rd gear. I ended up doing that for almost an hour and I did it again the next day. It gave me the confidence a week afterwards. But never drive a car beyond that place. Just see how  you feel behind the steering wheel and driving. Be honest to yourself. You are the only one who can honestly say how you feel. MAKE SURE YOU ARE SAFE AND OTHERS AROUND YOU AND PROPERTIES AROUND YOU.   

On the day of your initial assessment you will not be allowed to drive your own car. When you book the assessment they will ask you what kind of car you would like to drive - manual, automatic, diesel, petrol. The assessment centre will have a fleet of cars that they can choose from. 

So sort out your licence and when that is sorted, if you want, I will discuss the assessment process in detail. Only if you want my help. I don't like to presume. 

In the meantime don't worry too much. I know it is impossible not to worry about the unknown but I reassure you the whole process is not that dreadful - except DVLA, LOL! 

Have a good, safe and relaxed Sunday. Wishing you the best.

Ruby ☺

Thank you for this Ruby

Hi Katy,

I had my licence taken away from me by the DVLA. Was not allowed to drive after stroke. Had to take 2 eye tests.
I was told would have to take a driving assessment before licence could be given back to me.

I took my driving assessment, luckily passed, but only allowed to drive automatics now.

The actual assessment took nearly 3 hrs. they carried out a physical assessment before the test. Then I was allowed to drive.

As i say, luckily I passed the assessment, then had to wait weeks to get licence back from DVLA, after they had checked Dr’s / Optician’s and driving assessment paperwork.

I wish you well in your quest

Afternoon. I had a stroke in February 2020 age 71. I don’t have use of my left arm and my left leg is a bit wonky. I have drop foot. When I got out of a 5 month stay in hospital, I just restarted driving. The car is an automatic and I have a mushroom on the steering wheel. I also have an indicator stalk extender so I can operate the indicators with my right hand. I took an eye test, just in case. Not long later, the DVLA wrote asking for my licence, name of GP etc. Numerous forms and reports went back and forth. Meanwhile, I was driving locally and even making the occasional trip much further afield (over 300 miles to Orkney, on one occasion). At one point I had to renew my motor insurance. I ticked the box saying ‘disabled, dvla aware’ and it all went through. In August 2021 the DVLA said I would have to have an assessment and I would be hearing from the DVA shortly. They phoned last week ! Anyway, my assessment is this coming Friday in a small town not far from where I live. Meantime I got a retired driving instructor to come out with me for a bit of an appraisal.
Wish me luck !

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Thanks. The instructor was good. Clearly, after more than 50 years and more than a million miles of driving under my belt I have habits not easily changed. Nonetheless he gave me some useful tips and advice.
One point he did make was that road awareness and anticipation couldn’t be learnt - it was down to experience. Fingers crossed for Friday.

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Hi Mikey,
Passed my assessment and got my licence back :+1:. Definitely feel that I have my independence back although I don’t drive in the dark as I don’t feel confident enough although I never liked it before but at least I can get about and have a new job starting in the new year. You’ll be glad to have your licence back
All the best


Took my driving assesment and they didnt pass me again this was the second time i have taken it,it would be easy to give up now but im going back again in near future no matter how long it takes me to get it back i will get it back one day

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Hi Katy, my husband is having a nightmare, he had a stroke over a year ago and re applied for his licence with a critical exemption form completed by his hospital consultant and field vision spec saver results back in April which was 6/6 snellon chart, it took the dvla 5 weeks to respond asking for a spec savers field vision test to be arranged (makes no sense), he’s booked in for another one but is also waiting for a call back from the dvla to find out why they have ignored all the paperwork he sent! How did you get on with your eye tests and driving assessment?

When I had my strokes I was told that I had an automatic 28 day driving ban, and after that I should not drive until I was passed fit to do so. When I wrote to DVLA to see about getting my licence back, they initially complained that they had not been notified about it, but seemed happy when I said nobody had told them I needed to inform them, but I had been told not to drive until passed fit to do so… I then forwarded the questionnaire they had sent me to the hospital consultant, and In the fullness of time ( about a month later) I received a letter saying that from the information they had received, I met the required standards and could keep my licence . But that said, while initially profoundly effected, I have got most of the normal function back. Everything still worked but initially very clumsily, I had enough muscle tone to stand, but not the balance to do so, I clearly remember standing, supported be two of the hospital staff, and looking down at my legs and having to consciously think what I wanted each of them to do… Now (3 years later) while my balance is not what it used to be, I have minimal deficits I still have full use of all limbs, but my left side is clumsy. E;g I can still carry a cup of tea in my left hand, though I am likely to spill it. A computer savvy friend likened it to the strokes having wiped out my high speed fibre network of nerves on my left side… but the old copper cables were still fully functional…