Am I Medically Fit for Driving? 

Thinking about renting a car in Singapore but concerned about whether you’re able to obtain a driving license with pre-existing medical conditions? Perhaps you have not driven a car for a long time, due to certain medical conditions and are wondering whether it is still advisable to rent a car despite not driving for a long period of time. If you have developed a medical condition that may affect driving abilities, would you give up your driving altogether? 


Thankfully, not all medical conditions render one unable to drive. The type of illness, treatment, medications and other considerations determine effects on one’s fitness and ability to drive.


Driving Ability Affected? 

Detected any signs that could affect your driving ability? In Singapore, it is up to the driver’s responsibility to discern whether or not one is still able to drive safely on the road. It could be an acute injury (e.g. sprained ankle, sprained wrist), or a physical discomfort (e.g. migraine/ sore lower backs). 


Medical Conditions Affecting Driving Ability

However, it is important to declare any medical conditions that could affect driving when applying for a driving license. For aged 65 years and above, one would need to be certified fit by a medical practitioner, of which the renewal of driving license lasts for 3 years. For aged 65 and below, low and behold, one would only require an eyesight test, and if you pass it, you’re good to go. 


But there is more than meets the eye as it pertains to being driver-ready. Should one have any existing medical conditions or disabilities listed in the Road Traffic Act (Motor vehicles, Driving Licenses), drivers would also be required to be certified by a medical practitioner. 


Medical Examinations 

During the Medical Examination, drivers are most commonly tested for:  

  • Past medical history
  • Senses: Vision, hearing
  • Movement
  • Physical/mental abnormalities rendering one unfit to drive 


Road Traffic Act 

Not sure on whether you are eligible to drive or even to rent a car in Singapore? 

Under the Road Traffic Act (Motor Vehicles, Driving Licenses), the list of disabilities/diseases that may prevent one from driving include: 

  • When one suffers from a Mental Disorder (of which order has been made under section 10 and 13 of the Mental Health (Care & Treatment) Act 2008 (Act of 2008), for the detention in a psychiatric institution of the person suffering from that mental disorder for treatment.). 
  • Suffers from Epilepsy 
  • Experiences sudden attacks of disabling giddiness/fatigue 
  • Poor eyesight: One should be able to read at a distance of 25 m (aided with spectacles/contact lens), a series of 6 letters in white on a black background of the same size and arrangement as those prescribed for the identification mark of a motor vehicle; and
  • Suffers from color blindness: One should also be able to distinguish the colors red, amber and green from a distance of 25 meters. 


Generally, these medical conditions do have an effect on our visual perception, reaction time, and ability to maneuver the vehicle and enact quick judgments to road situations. Naturally, there are also other medical conditions that may affect driving ability that may not fall under the Road Traffic Act. 


Other Conditions that Affect Driving Ability 

Sleepiness, even though not a medical condition, may also cause severe driving risks and lead to accidents. Lowered reaction time, attention and compromise decision making processes. Sleep deprivation (most commonly voluntarily), or irregular sleeping patterns, may affect one’s alertness to road conditions. Drug/medicine & alcohol consumptions may also cause one to feel lethargic, and increase instances of sleepiness. 


Hence, should you experience certain discomfort like: 

  • The first epileptic seizure episode 
  • The first psychosis episode
  • Blurring of vision or instances where vision is compromised
  • Taking medications that could hinder attention, reaction time, decision making ability, psychomotor ability 


Stop driving and allow someone to take over as one may become a danger hazard to oneself and others. When in doubt of your driving capabilities, speak to a medical professional. 


What Happens If I Drive Despite Not Being “Medically Fit”? 

Driving under some medical conditions could be very dangerous – for yourself, your passengers and for passers-by. Should you be discovered to be medically unfit for driving by the Traffic Police (either by self reporting, or being called out by the public), one would then be required to undergo a medical examination at a government hospital or specialized institution to assess his driving abilities. Should one fail the medical examination, his license will be revoked and he may also be liable under the Penal Code for committing negligence or a rash act. 


Requirements for Car Rental 

For car rental in Singapore, drivers would have to have a valid driving license. For car rental requirements, you would need to have: 

  1. A valid driving license
  2. Meet the minimum age requirement of 18 year old; although many car rental companies require a minimum age of 23 before renting a car
  3. Minimum driving experience of 2 years as many car rental companies do not accept P-Plate drivers  


However, one should be responsible for the safety of oneself and others on the road. Hence, should you face any doubts in your medical conditions that may be affecting your driving ability, seek medical opinion immediately and stop driving until you’re medically cleared. 


Having doubts over whether you are fit to drive and to rent a car in Singapore? Speak to our friendly staff to check on your eligibility and to learn more about the various ins and outs of car rental in Singapore.