Getting permission to drive again in France after a stroke

Hello. Can anyone tell me about their experiences of being allowed to drive again after a stroke. I had a brain haemorrhage type stroke 16 months ago. It affected movement but not speech, sight or cognition. Five months of excellent rehab in Lamalou les Bains got me walking again though my right hand and foot are still partially numb. The psychologist there did some tests and wrote a report saying I should be safe to drive again and gave me a list of local doctors authorised to assess fitness to drive. I picked one and visited only to be told it was far too soon. There was no testing or examination. I had to go and stay with family in UK after that as I live alone here in Herault out of reach of public transport. Now at last I’m back to have another go. All advice gratefully received.

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Hello Sally
Sorry that I can’t really answer your question but bravo for making an excellent recovery.
Have you tried talking to the specialist at the hospital where you received your primary care ?
Maybe ask him for an assesment.
After mum had her stroke, ( she was 80 years young at the time) she was given follow up assesments as to what she could achieve/was capable of.
As she has never driven this didn’t really come into it.
While I do have faith in the general doctors I do think that a specialist would be your best bet. Your doctor should be able to give you a letter to see one.

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Pick another?

While it can take up to 2 years to recover from a stroke most of the recovery is in the first 3-6 months and much more slowly after that so by 16 months you are going to be nearly as recovered as you ever will be.

“reprise de conduite apres avc” seems to be a good search term in Google.

I know at least, two French people, driving after having a stroke Sally, I would try the route suggested by Ann and Paul, and Best Wishes :+1: :slightly_smiling_face:

Looking at some of the google hits it is clear that only certain doctors are able to assess fitness to drive and, from her first post, Sally was given the list local to her. Obviously if her hospital specialist is on the list that would, indeed, be an excellent starting point but if not it might not get her any further forward.

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Hello Sally, I had a similar brain-bleed about sixteen years ago, after which I was unable to walk, although after a week I managed to shuffle with a walking frame. I never lost power in my limbs, but could not coordinate to walk. I had no other motor or cognitive signs, but had - like you - one-sided numbness of the right lower limb and torso as far as the nipple! In my left leg I had a very peculiar sensory anomaly as hot surfaces felt cold, and cold one felt warm.

Cutting a long story short, I was walking normally within four months, but the sensory changes have persisted. My GP and the consultant neurologist agreed that I was fit to drive and I have driven since in UK and here in France, having obtained a French licence.

I was never diagnosed with CVA or TIA but the neurologists said the scan showed evidence of a possible small mid-line brain-stem bleed which was very local and quickly reabsorbed. The fact that I was a nurse may have weighed in the decision not to hang a diagnosis round my neck.

I hope you remain in good health and that you get your licence and your liberty back without fuss. I would agree with the advice to keep trying, and perhaps find a woman doctor. :woman::wink::grin:


Thank you for your encouraging reply

Thank you Bill for your good wishes

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Thank you for your good wishes and for sharing your experiences. There are similarities between our strokes so it is especially heartening to hear yours was sixteen years ago. That would get me into my eighties which I find very encouraging.

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Thank you for replying, Paul. You are right - I shouldn’t have accepted the first “non” before. This time I will try every doctor on the list if I have to.

Re encouragement, Sally, you may have read about the research that strongly suggests tha the longer you’ve lived, the longer you can expect to go on living. I like that sort of research. I have recently passed 80, and think that 90 should be achievable, on past form. But I have no heavy investment in that: it’s very easy to think one is somehow immune from death, even when these might be my last words, isn’t it?


If that were the case no-one would ever die :thinking:

It is true that if you are alive and well it is expected you will live a while longer but that time gradually becomes less as we age

Thus, in the UK a 55 year old is expected to ive another 30 years, a 65 year old another 21 years, by 75 years old a further 13 years, by 85 just 6 years, 95 3 years etc.

I’d like to make 100, but only if that can be done in reasonable health.

Edit: actually “expected to” is probably a bit misleading, beter to say “the average 55 year old will live a further 30 years”. For those that care I am not sure what “average” is used but probably an estimate of the median.

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Yes, Paul, I did take liberties with the research, it was only in the interests of cheering myself up and making other people jealous :roll_eyes::mega: and I was caught out, again :unamused:

And my finaigling didn’t work for long, as it turns out. This folly has stripped months off my life expectancy, possibly, but is well-deserved retribution all the same. :sob:


By U.K. standards that would give me another 30 years…x :slight_smile:

On my Scottish gran’s side one of her sisters my great aunt lived to 103…she never married though so I don’t know how much that contributed to her longevity…??? x :smiley:

She was quite a character…vegetarian…was only ever in a hospital in the last year of her life which she hated and caused hell til they let her go home…x :slight_smile:


Hi Sally,
Sorry to hear about your condition, however a bit of encouragement.
My sister (although this does relate to UK), has suffered several quite serious strokes. She had the first at the very young age of 36, she is now 56.
Her speech took a couple of years to return to 90% normal but she is has no use in one leg and extremely limited limited use in one arm. Most of the time she is on an electric motor “scooter / chair” to get around.
However after the first 6 months she was able to drive (she had to be assessed driving through).
The first cars were adapted and all controls were operated via connections to the steering wheel. (had to be an automatic gearbox though).
Now as her condition has worsened she requires a vehicle that allows to remain in her electric chair whilst driving. Expensive conversion but fully available and as you have said mobility is paramount for her also as she lives in a rural location in Wales…

If you can’t get through the system here in France, consider it when you are in the UK …

I went through a similar process 14 years ago. The problem in France is the clutch-gear shift etc are all on the right side. My right side is the functional one, so I was never told to stop driving. Have you thought of getting an automatic?