Community Forum

Seizure While Driving

I am 17 years old and about 2 years ago I was diagnosed with JME. On
New Years I spent the night at my friends house and got only 2 hours of
sleep. I didn't take my medicine that night (Keppra + Lamictal), or the
next morning. As I left her house (only minutes after waking up) and
began walking to my car I had a few blackouts and even shook a little.
This happens to me if I don't take my medicine/don't get enought sleep
but I didn't think of it as a big deal. I was just thinking about
getting home and going to bed.

As I drove home, which was only 5 minutes away, I felt a little
tired but that was all.  That was the last thing I remember because the
next thing I know I was being pulled out of my car onto a stretcher and
into an ambulance. I immediately knew I had one of my grandmal
seizures. I was so confused, and so scared. Later I learned that I had a seizure, run off the road and crashed into a light pole going 45 MPH.
My car was completely totalled but I thankfully was fine and was left
with only a few bruises. I'm not able to drive for a while (and being
17 that feels like it's the worst thing in the world), but I understand
that I should not be allowed behind the wheel of a car right now. I had
been seizure free for about 6-8 months before the accident. This past
week has been so hard for me and my family but I'm trying my hardest to
move on. Anyway.... I am just wondering if anyone else has ever had a seizure while driving?


Man, are you lucky that you survived and that you didn't kill or injure anyone else.  I have temporal lobe epilepsy and can't drive because my seizures just have not been controlled enough.  I'm still searching for the right medication.  I wouldn't dream of driving until they are under control...I have complex and simple partial seizures.  I wasn't born with it--I had a traumatic brain injury when a drunk driver hit me at 45mph and slammed me into a utility pole and electrical box.  I spent two weeks in the hospital (one of which was in ICU). 

I won't lecture you about taking your medication.  I'm sure you've heard that plenty, both from others and yourself.  I hate being lectured.  I get it all the time from my parents and husband and I know they mean well.  But I will say this.  One of the most irritating, frustrating, and sucky things about having epilepsy is the fact that you can't deviate from your routine.  You can't stay up late and not expect it to effect you because it will.  Tiredness is one of my worst triggers.  Not getting enough to eat or drink will effect your system as well.  Brain chemistry, metabolism, you name it, everything effects E.  I really hate having to go to bed before midnight on New Years Eve, sleeping in on Christmas, it does restrict your life to an extent.  But the bottom line is this:  Take care of yourself.  After all, there's only one you!

 Now to your question of having a seizure while driving...  I'm sure you know that there's a time limit after your last seizure as to when you can drive (it varies state-to-state).  I'm sure you feel like not driving is the worst thing in the world right now.  I certainly felt that way when I was told I couldn't drive.  But there are worse things in life.  Like what?  Hmmmm....  Imagine there was someone walking near that light pole you hit who was killed.  THAT would have been worse.  Or imagine a young couple with their year old child coming home from someone's house and you crashed into their car instead, instantly killing the mother.  Or crippling the father for life.  That would be worse too!  See, this is what helped me decide that my desire to drive wasn't nearly as important as others' right to drive safely.  I would be no better than that drunk driver that impacted me if I chose to ignore my doctor's warnings.  

I'm not trying to lecture, nor am I unsympathetic...that accident was horrific, I'm sure.  I just feel that I must tell you that there are many, many of us out there that don't drive because of events like what you have been through.  There are those that do.  It is a matter of personal choice, safety, and necessity.  The other thing I must tell you is, if you feel those signs, like blacking out, dizziness, shaking, you know, the preseizure signs, tell someone (anyone!) and get a ride home.  It doesn't mean you're less of a person, it means that you are showing responsibility for yourself (and others by not driving).  Or call home and have a roommate, parents, whoever, pick you up.  Very important.  Please take care of yourself!

So put yourself first.  Eat right, sleep right, take those thousands of pills (I know I take enough to rattle), and make sure that if and when you do decide to drive again that you are 100% every time you get behind the wheel.  Please take care of yourself and I hope that you've recovered well!


I've not seized while driving, but twice it's been close. In Feb. 1992, over 2 years after my previous grand mal and 1 month after my neuro released me and told me I'd probably never have another, I had a stretch of 12 - 14 hour days at work, followed by 10 hour days with my Reserve unit. I drove our vehicle out to a work site. On the way home, I had another guy drive. All of a sudden the cars I was watching through the windshield were both coming at us and going away from us at the same time. Next thing I knew I was at a hospital talking to my then wife and my sister. It had taken them 2 hours to get to the hospital. I was supposed to be driving, but had forced the issue because of being tired. Side note: I had to pay the medical expenses for an illness that happened on reserve duty because it was considered a pre existing condition. With in just a few days, I was on Dilantin. The next close call was Christmas Eve 2008. After nearly 17 years of being seizure free, I got sloppy on getting my meds refilled. I would remember on my way to work and, because it would make me late, decide to "refill it tomorrow". Christmas Eve I met my sisters and my fiance for breakfast. Afterwards, I went and finally got the meds refilled (only 8 days late) and swallowed a day's worth in pharmacy's parking lot. My fiance met me at my apartment and drove me to a book store to begin my Christmas shopping. I started having visions at the store. My sweetie is an ICU nurse, so when I went down, she took care of me both at the store and later at the E.R (which happened to be the hospital where she works (nothing gets you in the dog house like screwing up and making your S.O. work for free tending to you).

Anyhow, the point of this is you can't screw around with sleep and meds. My M.D.s haven't lectured me or even rolled their eyes at me, but they both have made sure to explain just how lucky I and the motoring public were.  My kids (2 teen agers), however, have been less forgiving.

I have nocturnal seizures while sleeping, and have been seizure free for almost 5 years.  I have always had my drivers license.  I live in Texas, and have not been reported to the DMV by anyone.  I am a little astonished at the reaction people have to me when they find out I have a seizure disorder, and they ask why I drive.  I have been driving for about 35 years now, and have had zero accidents attributed to a seizure.  So my question to those individuals is, do you feel safer with me on the road, or the active drug addicts and alcoholics?  How about the illegals here from Mexico who live in "Sanctuary" cities and do not have to account for car accidents, a license, or car insurance.  They come from a country where it is not illegal to imbibe and drive.  To this day I have not had a doctor tell me not to drive.  Just a few thoughts on and off the subject.

Not sure where you got the idea that it's legal to drink and drive in Mexico. Seems the limit is the same as in most states here: 0.08.




I had a seizure while driving in December of 2007.  I tore and artery and broke my nose after hitting a telephone pole.  Those airbags are pretty powerful when they deploy.  One huge seizure trigger for me is sleep deprivation.  If I have too little sleep for several nights in a row, I can pretty much count on a seizure.  I do 15 minutes of yoga and 15 minutes of meditation before going to bed each night.  I am currently taking Lamictal and Topamax, which can cause problems with sleeping.  One thing I found out about Keppra, it has a short half-life, 6-8 hours, so it's gone in 12-16 hours.  Taking it on time is essential.  I was having seizures on it in the mornings after I worked out, so I was sweating too much of it out since it is processed through the kidneys.  Not a good choice for me. 

cindylee   I have tonic clonic..when I never drive. But I just started having new sizures that are wierd i  can't move legs or feet. I want to know...what does a passanger do if the driver has a seizure?

I'm not sure where you get the idea that "illegals" as you call them don't have to account for car accidents or insurance in Sanctuary cities or indeed anywhere in this country. You're really quite ill informed. I'll leave it there.

You are very lucky to be alive. I totaled out a truck during a sezuire. I hit so hard I bent a rear axle but walked away with cuts and scrapes.

 Another time I put my new truck in the side on a building. Thank God nobody was hurt.

It's hard not driving anymore but it's better for everyone if I don't. I sure couldn't live if I took the life of someone cause of my stupidity

Good luck to you and be careful.....x

You should NOT be driving! You're going to kill yourself or some innocent person! The protocol if you have a seizure is that you cannot drive for 2 or 3 years...check with your state law. I know this really sucks, but it'll REALLY suck if you die or kill someone!

My daughter is 17 and she actually ENJOYS having me drive her everywhere. I love doing it...we have some of our best conversations in the car!

Seriously-I believe I know how you feel sorta, your probably feel super anxious.  not only from the seizure you had and from being in the hospital and the accident, thanking your lucky stars no one was hurt.  You probably keep running the events through your head over and over again, like how in the hell did this happen to me.  --that's what i do.  Then the last thing hits you, shit ---I can't go anywhere, I'm stuck. I don't know how long your restrictions are but in my state it is 6 months.  I was almost finished with mine, then I had another 2 grand mals January 3.  so now I have to wait to July 3---frick!!!  I am cutting out all wine drinking now.  I think that might have been the culprit.  I love my wine.  but oh well, I will drink non alcoholic wine.  ;-)  so i'm in that period of being anxious and rethinking everything that just happened and being seriously pissed off. ps...hw long is the period that you have to wait in your state before you can drive again?


It is 6 months in my state. But even then I don't know if I will feel comfortable enough to get behind the wheel. I definently understand where everyone is coming from. Of course I know I am beyond lucky and grateful that I didn't hurt kill anyone. I can't, and don't even want to, imagine living with that for the rest of my life. That's why I don't know when I'll mentally and emotionally be ready to drive again. I'm not complaining, I just was wondering if there were others out there who had an accident as well and how they were dealing with it. And yes Susan that's true, I do keep replaying it in my head. For example the other day in class we were watching a video on driving accidents and they showed this part where a teen was being pulled out of a car into an ambulance and I just wanted to start crying because that's what happened to me. It's just hard for a 17 year old to cope with all this, that's all. I just feel that most teens have to worry about homework, getting into college, having fun. But having this on my shoulders, I just feel so different from everyone else. I definently understand I could have a disease so far worse then seizures but it's just emotionally difficult at times. My mom and doctors tell me many teens out-grow seizures as they're older and don't have them anymore but I am just not sure.

I am now 20, a junior in college, and I bought my truck (4 wheel drive, cute blck little mazda) about 2 years ago when I had been seizure free for a while and had a simmilar occurence: woke up in an ambulence in a stretcher. Luckily, I was stopped at a stop sign when I had my accident and it was early in the morning so I just roled through and didn't hurt anyone (includeing myself). Now, I am having tons of seizures and haven't driven in about a year. The reason I keep having them is because I am stubborn and don't pay attention to what my body tells me...So, my only advice is: be smart! Pay attention to what your body tells you. You KNOW that when you have those little shakes you might have a BIG shake, but only you can sit yourself down and wait for it to pass. Just take care of yourself, the sooner you do that, the sooner you will be driving. Good luck, Don't take the hard route like me.

Also, don't listen to anyone who tells you to wait 2-3 YEARS. That is absurd. Depending on your condition the laws are for each seizure you have you have to wait 3 months to 1 year until you drive. Again, follow your judgement. I suggest reading the article on the main page of, its called Driving, or my perspective on driving by the editor in chief.

This is how we found out that I had epilepsy.

I would always get a tingling in my right hand that would radiate up and to my shoulder and lead to disorientation. The problem was it happened the most when I was running, so I (and my PA) shrugged it off as running too much. This was when I was 21 or 22, I'm 23 now.

About a year or so later, I was driving down the road and lost conciousness left the roadway and struck a house. The passenger thought I was passing the car in front of us so didn't realize what was going on until it was too late and we were lucky. We went between 2 utility poles then went about 100 yards through a field and knocked out the corner of a vancant (thank God) house.

The last thing I remember was getting off the phone with my sister which about about 2-3 minutes before the house and the next thing I remember was 2 men trying to help us out of the car.

I was still disoriented, bascially trying to figure out what happened.

I had glass lacerations on my hands and bruised knees (because my legs were locked up) and the passenger had a few glass lacenrations on her hands and face and a fractuared metacaple.

About 6 months later I was diagnosed with epilepsy in my left frontal lobe.

I was diagnosed in October and I should get my license back in a week or two.

hi,  to answer your question.  yes.  i have not been able to regain control of the seizures since.  The best thing you can do, is to kick yourself in the tail.  In this case the reason is you.  fix the problem.  if it works get to drive, and get the best life you can.  I know that is harsh, but it is the truth.  having seizures sucks.  complying with the things that work is the best thing to do.  Expect and except the consequences for non compliance.  I broke the rules, and driving has not been possible for the last 8 years.  i hope this helps.  rikk


I have.  I ran into a gas main on a house going about 10 miles per hour.  Took out the gas main.  But luckily everything else was fine.  That's the day I found out that I'm also hypoglycemic.

I had a seizure that made me blackout the last time I drove, back in 2000, and like you I was very fortunate that I didn't hurt or kill myself or someone else. My sister was driving behind me, and I said that I veered into the oncoming lane, and I hit somebody head on. Luckily, it was a 2-lane road at rush hour, so both of us were only going about 10 to 15 mph. So neither of us were hurt, and I thank God that it didn't happen later when I would have been on a bigger street going 45. For about 4 years I have only had simple partial seizures, but as long as I have them there is a possibility of a major one, so I don't drive, and you shouldn't either. I know that it's very hard at your age, but you may not be so lucky if it happens again.
You should definitely be dilligent about taking your medicine also. One time years ago I wasn't taking mine every time, and a friend found me just wandering around my dorm because I had a blackout, when I should have been in class.
I really miss driving sometimes, but thankfully I have a wife who doesn't mind driving me to work and other places, so if you can find a reliable ride, you should be able to manage alright. I wish you well, and hope that you can get over your condition.

I remember when I was that age and I ask my doctor could I drive? He told me no I cried and cried everybody my age was driving except me! I got my driver licence when I was 21 for the first time! I'm 23 now and had a seizure last Sunday this hurts so bad now! I don't know what I'm going to do now

It's me again, and I would just like to thank you all for your comments.

It really made me feel not so alone knowing others have gone through surprisingly extrememly similar experiences. It's been almost 5 months. One more month to go and I'll be able to drive. And yes I have been counting down the days. Now I never EVER forget my medicine. And my parents and myself make sure I get enough sleep. If I am up late doing my homework my mom often makes me go in late to school so I have had enough sleep.

When I do start driving again I know, absolutely know, that I must make sure that I feel completely fine before getting in the car, before starting that engine, and before pressing on that pedal.

Apparently about 3% of Americans have a seizure disorder. With a high school of 4,500 students, that means that there should be over 100 people at my school similar to me. There's not really a way to make a "group" for people with seizures in high school. I know you all will say that I should somehow try to form one so we can discuss the way it makes us feel and such but I know that no one my age would ever admit to having a disorder. That's why I'm happy to read these blogs- you may not be in high school but you relate a lot to what I am saying.

Hi, well i was diagnosed aged 8 (i am now 21 this year) with pete mal, i have never been comfortable with my epilepsy and i remember at school it was a huge thing i tried to keep from everyone, i lost lots of weight and was on 4 tablets a day, i have always been told i will never be able to drive. Aged 8 this didnt bother me! During my childhood my mum forced tablets down my throat until i was sick, i have a fear of being sick so this was a really big deal and now i cannot take any tablets they have to be dissolvable or liquid. I have always because of that never took medication regularly. i was recently told that to control my "doo's" (as we all call them) i would have to take 4 different types of medication, which im not going to do, no way in case im sick. i blame my mother for all this btw although she swears blind she didnt make me sick! Even now when taking medicine (liquid) my bf has to hold me and my cat has to be there and i even cry, its sad but such a big deal to me. When i read this i do feel sad i cant drive, but i have always looked at it as thats the card ive been dealt, if i could drive i would, im not lazy, i have loads of qualifications and a fantastic professional job wth a huge salary. so i am successful and very happy! I wasnt dropped on my head and i inherited epilepsy off my uncle who actually died in a swimming pool when he has a grand mal seizure and drowned, thank god you werent hurt! Your lucky you are able to drive as i wont ever by the sound of it!!!

It's creepy how similar my story is to yours. Just a couple weeks ago I was going to pick up my little sister about 30 miles away. I had gone to a party the night before and had a "bout" with my potential boyfriend at the time leaving me extremely stressed and eager to go home immediately which was an hour away. After driving home the night before at 4am, I was not only tired but exhausted the next day. I didn't take my medication (trileptal) that morning, and as I was going about 70 on a busy road during rush hour I supposedly went off the road, caught air and literally broke THROUGH a telephone pole at about 8ft. off the ground, catching everything on fire, then rolling into the ditch. Next thing I knew, I was being loaded onto a stretcher. I didn't get helped immediately by people who saw the accident because they didn't want to see a dead person. At the last minute a guy ran into the car and put my enflamed airbag out or I would be in the process of getting plastic surgery for my face right now. I was loaded onto a stretcher and taken to the hospital with minimal injuries. I should be dead right now.

Hello, I have a boyfriend that has Partial Complex Seizers....I was wondering if anyone is familiar with these type of seizures?? I was also wondering if he can get into a car while having this type of seizure and drive??? Please let me know and I appriciate all of your time.


Thank you


Stacy: I too have Partial Complex seizures: what that means is the seizures can be "partial", so there is not a loss of consciousness, but really alters your sense of reality and motor abilities; or "complex" where there is a loss of consciousness. I'm sure you don't mean the way the wording of your question sounds, because if he is actually having a seizure, definitely no, don't drive. If he is diagnosed with this, he can drive, but if he has a seizure where he loses consciousness, depending on what state you are in, there is a time limit you are not to drive. I have had a few times when I've had a seizure driving, but they were partial seizures and I was able to stop safely. However, I ended up sitting in the car awhile until I could manage to put the car in park and turn it off.  One time I had just pulled into my driveway and sat for awhile til I could get the car off, but then couldn't figure out how to open the garage door, so I was stuck outside until it all passed.  Unlike the others here, I have been VERY lucky to only have partial while driving.  I'm on my 4th type of medication, which seems to be holding.  Your boyfriend needs to make sure he doesn't miss his doses, and if the meds aren't working good enough, talk to the doctor, lots of choices, different ones work for different people.  I have a doc that says you shouldn't med hop, should stick with one -- which is hooey.  If you get that, find a new doc.


Hi Stacy,

I am a Registered Nurse and our son who is 19 has had Epilepsy for 6 years.

He has Temporal Lobe Epilepsy which consists of Complex Partial Seizures.

He did not drive in High School. 2 years ago he was finally ready and took the courses etc and was cleared to drive. He had been seizure free for 8 months. In Colorado, it is a period of 3 months of being seizure free before you can drive once you have had a seizure.

I am not sure what type of Epilepsy ~(where the focus is of his seizures)your boyfriend has but here is a little info;

With complex partial seizures you can have:
1. Simple partial seizures that are without a loss of awareness.
2. Complex partial that have loss or awareness.

During a complex partial seizure with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, you can lose awareness because the seizure spreads to involve both temporal lobes, and can cause impairment of memory.

It usually begins with an Aura which is a simple partial seizure and is associated with odd feelings; may be physical like certain odors or psychological like deja vu', and other feelings.

Your main concern sounds like his driving. I can tell you from our son's recent experience that once you start having an aura or a simple partial seizure... there is not time, with his anyway to get off the road. He had the aura then had a Grand Mal seizure which lasts about one to two minutes. This is typical of his seizure pattern.

There is no capacity to reason once an aura begins.... you are already having a seizure. Once a decision is made to drive, if there is a feeling of being a little off then there is already a huge risk factor associated with that feeling.

Our son was disappointed as a teen with not being able to drive and his seizure hx was not multiple but enough that he was never seizure free long enough to drive.

He was driving and had been seizure free for a year and 8 months and just had a seizure while driving a month ago. Luckily he was in a residential neighborhood, and was traveling at a slow rate of speed. He ran up a curb, was in a area of construction and put a small dent in a window well, and ran into some scaffolding which stopped the car.

He was unconscious from the time he ran up the curb until he woke up surrounded by the medics, police and firetrucks.

He has always been diligent with the meds.... and is in a band and had a concert the night before and was an outdoor concert in the heat. Went to sleep about the same time but fell asleep a little later than normal. He did take his meds. While for him there is no medical reason like a tumor... etc. that is a cause, he has to pay attention to triggers and be careful to follow a routine based on them.

I think that there are several important things to take away from this. Know what your triggers are and pay attention. Your health and well being are the most important thing to those of us who love you and care for you.

He had no idea what had happened and could not believe that it was a seizure but it was.... and since it had been so long he really had a hard time coming to terms with it but is very pragmatic and understands the UNPREDICTABILITY of this disease.

PLEASE PLEASE... read up on this type of seizure and where his focal point is or where his seizures begin to get more info.

Check in with the National Epilepsy Foundation; they have great information and you can sign up to get emails with updates.

Also, if there are Epilepsy Walks in your area I encourage you both to participate as it
is a great opportunity to meet other people and hear their stories. The National Epilepsy Walk in DC is truly a wonderful experience; and puts a whole new perspective on this discussion. We have met some amazing people through these experiences. And it is a great way to gather information on research etc.

Take care, Stacy.

I totaled my car a few years ago, ran it across the oncoming traffic lane and slammed into a tree on the way to work. Luckily I was only going about 40, and the oncoming traffic was stopped at a light 50 feet further. I was 21. I read the police report once because I had to have it for some kind of documentation, and I'll never read it again. (I have grand mals and one of the eyewitness reports was a girl who said she 'tried to hold my head in place while I seized', and I was just imagining snapped tendons in my neck.) I woke up in the ambulance wondering why my whole body felt like hell and I could hardly talk. Spent the rest of the day in the hospital, and the next three months not driving.

My first seizure was a couple months after I turned sixteen. I couldn't drive for four months. It was absolutely horrible. But even worse, lately I've had medication problems. Driving privileges have been gone for over 5 months now, and assuming all goes well, it will be a solid 7 months at the earliest. This summer is in serious competition for the worst one of my life.

The most unfortunate thing is the nature of most of the US -- cities are spread out and far from everything when you're looking at only traveling by foot. Unlike Europe, where in most places everything is local and convenient within a short walk or bus/train ride. Excepting some major cities, even getting to public trans here is difficult, not to mention the limitations of where it can take you.If you live in the average rural or suburban America, you're stuck at home, relying on everyone else to take you somewhere. (It includes, ironically, doctor appointments, which can make it pretty difficult to get treatment.

Absolutely - I too was not taking my meds, I hopped in a van to go do an errand down the street, and woke up screaming in agony in an ambulance with EMTs holding me down.  I had had a grand mal and totaled someone else's car along with the front end of my van.  My shoulder had dislocated and they wouldn't let me put it back in the whole ride to the hospital.  I popped it back in myself once they got their hands off me, didn't let anyone touch me at the ER, and called a relative to come pick me up.  They'll have you owing them $1K+ in no time for doing nothing...

Driving and having a seizure can kill you or someone else, period.  I have been driving despite having temporal lobe epilepsy, because other than the story above I absolutely never go careening into anything.  I have 1-2 seizuresa week, almost none of which are while driving.  When they are at the wheel, I just keep driving in a normal fashion.  My awareness is altered, but my ability to steer a vehicle and avoid obstacles is not impaired. 

HOWEVER, if you are skipping doses of anticonvulsants you will have a generalized seizure within 24 hours.  That is why I NEVER skip a dose of my seizure meds EVER.

I had one the other day and I hit a curb while I was driving.  I do not remember having a seizure but, I do remember being put in the hospital.  My transmission is cracked now.  I am upset about this.  This is the first time I had one while actually driving.  I am so sorry that this happened to you.  I know how scary it is.  The fact that you are alive is awesome.  The next thing I got scared about is if I hurt anyone from being uncounscious and I did not.  Now I don't know what to do except move to a city where they have buses.


I had them when I was working in the police dept. a long time ago.  I had people honking at me.  I would slow down very slow.  I did not know I had different auras that lead to seizure activity.  I was going to college and suddenly I had the same aura or spaced out feeling in class and I woke up in the health room on campus.  It was embarrasing to me.

 I lost my license.  I had to tell my sgt. and he told me that I had to go to records and work in the station until I got my license back.  I soon found out that I had 2 types of auras.  I felt I was under control.  I ended up in the ID section and worked in fingerprinting and crime investigation.  I never got my license back and had to leave.

The Neurologist told me to go back to school because I had the intelligence to do anything I wanted to do.  He suggested that since I knew how to work w/ people to be an attourney or work in the medical field.  I went back to school and went to Social Ecology.  I needed a job.  He then suggested to be a EEG Tech or become a nurse.   I became an EEG Tech.  I worked in the field for 15 years.  I was married and had 2 children.

At first it seems like a limit.  It felt like the pits.  The Neurologist stated I could do anything and the seizures will get better.  I changed my interests, the seizures were still occuring but I did work.  I still not drive. 

It's like turning  lemons into lemonade. 

I always found a good job.  I started at the bottom but I ended up in a good position.  I have not driven since then.

I hope things turn out well, but you never know your challenges.  You are strong and you will be able to deal with it and you have the ability!  I found out and things turned out great even if I do not drive.

Yes, I have had a seizure while driving.  Fortunately, my 15 yr old daughter was with me.  I had noticed the aura and de ja vu and told her I needed to pull over, but apparently before I could I was gone.  She told me she had to push me out of the way since my vehicle went into the other lane and she maneuvered us to the side of the road.  The next morning at church, she said an elderly lady was giving thanks to the lord that this truck swerved just in time and missed hitting her vehicle the day before!  This was the most frightening experience not only for me, but for my family. 

I have experienced the aura before 3 years prior but had enough time to pull off in a gas station and lay down with the vehicle shut off.  I don't believe I will ever take the chance of driving again...I could never live with the idea of hurting someone else or the pain my family would feel if I injured myself in such an accident.  It is hard being so dependent on others, but I just will have to adjust and get creative with my transportation possibilities. Thankfully, I still have two legs.

Im sorry...  but what in the &#%$ were you thinking???  You know you have seizures. you know you're prone to seizures when you don't take your meds and don't get enough sleep which you did both of.  AND you didn't feel right just before you got behind the wheel.  Yet you drove.  You are extremely luckly you didn't kill yourself or someone else.  Did you have to drive that day?  You couldn't have called a parent or friend to pick you up? You couldn't have just hung out at that friend's house for a while?  Was it a life and death situation? 

Yes, having epilepsy sucks sometimes especially when your a teenager or young adult and want to do all the things your friends do, I've been there, but YOU HAVE TO BE RESPONSIBLE.  Many people with epilepsy don't even have the luxury of driving you have to take that responsibility seriously.  I know this sounds harsh but it comes from experience.  I have had a seizure while driving.  It was the only the second seizure I'd ever had so I did not know I had epilepsy.  The wreck was terrifying, well the aftermath, I don't remember the accident.  I was extremely lucky too, I left with a few cuts & bruises and no one else was hurt.  That accident was years ago and I still remember how lucky I am everytime I go by where it happened.  I drive now but my grand mals are under control and I only suffer from complex-partials.  I live in a very rural area so public transportation is not an option, but I take rides as much as possible, and if I feel the least bit of tired or wierd or that I may have a seizure I WILL NOT DRIVE.  I am one of the lucky that does have my license but I am responsible about it.  Having a condition like epilepsy makes you have to grow up faster and be a responsible adult.  So, as soon as your ready to grow up and accept that responsibility you'll be fine!      

I'm sorry but WTF were you thinking?! Why did you really have to take a chance and drive? Was it REALLY a life and death situation? Why couldn't you have called someone to take you home or hang out at your friends house for a while? You were just lucky you did not hurt or kill yourself or someone else. YOU NEED TO BE MORE RESPONSIBLE!

Yes having epilepsy sucks especially as a teenager knowing you want to do all the things that your friends do. When I was your age, I was unable to drive and I felt like a child when my parents had to drop me off when I wanted to hang out with my friends. The last seizure I had as a teenager was at 18. Then I went seizure-free meaning I was happy being able to drive throughout my college years and after graduating from college. The meds worked for 9 years meaning I was very happy being independent. But back on 2/19/2010 I had a seizure while driving causing me to blackout hitting the median at 60 mph. Luckily I made it without a scratch and no one else was hurt as well. The wreck was terrifying since it totaled the car and the only thing I remembered when I escaped out of the seizure was hearing a loud crash and seeing the airbag deploy. Then when the paramedics came I had another seizure meaning the next thing I remembered I was in the hospital. I was depressed since I lost my driving privileges for 6 months which really sucks since I went seizure-free for 9 years and having my parents driving me to work at 27 years old makes me feel like a child. But in a way when I pass by the accident spot I can only remember how lucky I was since it could have been. But in the fall when I start driving again I feel like this accident helped me grow up and learn to accept disappointments since it's a part of life.



It seems like there should be some kind of mechanism that can be added to cars to stop them when a driver loses control like during a seizure or heart attack.  Is anyone aware of such a mechanism?  If not we should start a discussion that would encourage someone to invent one.  If a person's hands left the wheel for a certain number of seconds it might stop the car, lock the steering wheel and maybe put on the emergency flashers.  There could also be a warning sound to the driver before so that it doesn't go into that mode without reason.

I had a seizure while driving once. It happened before I really understood my seizures and the signs leading up to one.

 I am a mechanic and I was in our service truck going on a service call. All day I had been feeling very crappy with that indescribable feeling I get before a seizure. I was driving down a winding road feeling terrible. The next thing I knew I was still sitting in the truck which was no longer moving but there was a car wrapped around the front of the truck and a lady frantically trying to get me to respond. I had forgotten to take my wallet along but I had enough sense to quickly phone the shop so someone could bring it to me. Luckily I was only a few miles away.

I'm very thankful that I didn"t hurt myself or anyone. The road made a gradual turn left but I kept going straight just to the right of a telephone pole right beside a large hedge. I boadsided a parked car whose owner was on the front steps just getting ready to get in it and leave. If she would have been in the car I would have injured her. If the car had been gone I would have crossed the lawn into the house. If I had hit the pole I would have been injured. It could have been so different.

Nobody there knew it was a seizure. The lady thought I had blacked out from the accident. She and the police officer thought I had fallen asleep seeing how tired I still was. I didn't mention the word seizure and nobody brought it up. The police officer gave me the lightest fine she could and let me go. The truck could still drive but I couldn't turn very sharp because of the damage. The car was completely totalled. Talk about feeling small. I just wanted to crawl in a hole and hide.

That was my wake up call that my epilepsy was more serious than I thought. That was a huge factor in learning what the indicators of an oncoming seizure are. I'm just glad that the only damage was to vehicles and not humans.

I cannot believe you would knowingly risk your and other lives. March 7 2003 my sister was hit by a driver who decided not to take his medication any longer because he "quit" having seizures. Unfortunately he and my sister were killed instantly. She would have been 20 yrs old in two days. I think about her Everyday, and think about how foolishly she lost her life. PLEASE RE-think your actions. It's not just your life at risk!

Hi Brandy22,

Making a decision to drive, or not to drive, is not an obvious easily determined choice made "knowingly", includingly, since the absence of prejudice involving epilepsy is not typical.

I stopped driving on my own accord about 24 years ago (at age 34) because I started biting my tongue too often, and a few times during times I was otherwise awake. Oddly enough, the State Rehabilitation made the initial contention that that didn't limit my ability to drive at all, involving gainful activities.

Little more than a year ago, I filed an ADAAA discrimination complaint against the medical clinic closest to my home (less than a mile away) because the clinic decided to refuse me services based on their contention that it was too dangerous for a person with a record of epilepsy to make a less than a mile walk, and that a person with epilepsy should then only seek medical services at an ER with equipped emergency transportation services. To me, I believe the greatest danger in making the walk was the possibility of being struck by vehicles with less than qualified and less than attentive drivers, but by all the news coverage of accidents across the USA that also involve people with epilepsy, the mere hint of epilepsy most always settles the blame on the person with epilepsy, and the most immediate cause as being taken as the epilepsy (but frequently, with paradoxical reverse prejudice, about the opposite if epilepsy provides an exonerating defense in a situation).

Many people with epilepsy may legally and safely drive, but like all other drivers, it often happens that many an individual member of this group also drives while distracted by cell phones, drives while sleepy, and/or drives while abusing drink and drug, resulting in accidents not per se related to epilepsy, though prejudice will most always blame the epilepsy, with the emphasis on the driver knowingly driving with "that epilepsy".

But, me being a pedestrian, if a texting driver struck me down in a crosswalk, based on my having epilepsy, I would probably get the blame for splattering blood on the vehicle and unduly disrupting the smooth flow of healthy traffic. So, with making a choice of transportation, epilepsy places another confounding great weight for Buridan's Ass.

Regarding driving, one list I like is:

Can I drive if I have epilepsy?
Each state has its own requirements for people with epilepsy to drive. Generally, your physician will okay you for a license if the following criteria is met:

Completely controlled on medication
Have seizures only at night
Have seizures which are focal motor
Have only auras
Have long auras before seizures which allow you to pull off to the side of the road
Have predictable seizures that occur during fever, sleep deprivation or another time when you can predict when the seizure will happen

Check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles for the rules that apply in your state.

Currently listed at:

The intense prejudice against people with epilepsy is a major problem in many transportation issues. There are many news stories where a person with epilepsy is given much more severe penalties (even when not at fault in an accident) simply for having a record of epilepsy of having very minor seizures that do not interfere with driving, but trying to meet such prejudice head-on with facts often doesn't work. Drunk drivers in similar accidents frequently receive much less severe penalties than a driver with well controlled epilepsy because of this prejudice.

A recent forum (at epilepsy-dot-com/discussion/995090) cited a news article where a driver told not to drive by a neurologist about 5 years ago before a minor parking-lot traffic violation, was half a decade later involved in an accident with fatalities. Now, the driver is threatened with up to 30 years in prison. Then, a couple days ago, the local news reported that a driver, illegally texting while driving, hit, and killed, pedestrians in a crosswalk, was charged with a misdemeanor, with a maximum possible year in jail. The word "epilepsy" is a word that often ignites tremendous official prejudice also.


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