As we all age, changes occur in our physical functioning, vision, perception, and processing abilities that could make driving unsafe. While changes are inevitable, they occur at different rates in each individual, and age alone is not a good indicator of driving skills. Most often these changes occur slowly over a long period of time, and the individual is able to compensate for minor deficits. If several skill areas are affected, or there is a sudden change in abilities due to illness or disease, driving may become impaired.
To help determine your fitment to continue driving, a driver rehabilitation specialist can provide a comprehensive evaluation. The assessment should include a review of medical history and medication, vision, cognition, perception, functional ability, reaction time, and a behind-the-wheel evaluation. If it is determined that continuing to drive is appropriate for you, the driver rehabilitation specialist will help you identify what special equipment or accomodations are needed, if any.
While the goal is to maintain safe and independent driving for as long as possible, a driver rehabilitation specialist can also assist with a driving cessation plan if you choose to discontinue driving. This would include consultation on alternative transportation options and budgeting tailored to your living situation.
8 Signs an Older Adult May Need a Driver Evaluation
- Failing to observe signs, signals, or other traffic
- Requiring help or instructions from passengers
- Making slow or poor decisions
- Becoming easily frustrated or confused
- Getting lost, even in familiar areas
- Driving at inappropriate speeds (either too fast or too slow)
- Making wide turns or driving in a poor road position
- Getting in accident or near misses