We measured the driver reaction times of 40 patients before total knee replacement (TKR) and 4, 6, 8 and 10 weeks after operation. The ability to perform an emergency stop was assessed as the time taken to achieve a brake pressure of 100 N after a visual stimulus. There were 18 drivers and 11 non-drivers; the latter had longer reaction times. In drivers, the ability to transfer the right foot from accelerator to brake pedal did not recover to preoperative levels for eight weeks after right TKR and was unchanged after left TKR. Patients should be advised that they should not drive for at least eight weeks after right TKR.