As seniors, we may get a little bit uncomfortable when driving. Our eyesight could be deteriorating and we may have trouble reaching the foot pedals. We’ve gone through the options of larger mirrors and adjusting the seat, but sometimes that is not enough.
It’s time to be pro-active and call in the experts. An occupational therapist or certified driver rehabilitation specialist who is trained in driving assessment and evaluation could save the day. They have the extensive training and knowledge needed to recognize the impact of medical conditions and the aging process on driving performance and what to do about it.
Their evaluation includes a plan for how you can reduce any risks and keep you safely in the driver’s seat by recommending precise equipment and providing training on how to use it. You will have the opportunity to try various kinds of equipment.
The outcome is a complete picture of your driving skills and abilities, including an assessment of your current driving ability and your potential for improvement.
An evaluation includes the following:
- Medications and their side effects
- Vision and perception
- Cognitive abilities
- Attention and reaction time
- Behind-the-wheel evaluation
Afterward, they recommend adaptive equipment or possible modifications to your vehicle to improve any areas you have trouble with. Easy solutions may include pedal extenders, hand controls, seat adjusters that can move the seat in all directions (raising it so the driver’s line of sight is 3” above the adjusted steering wheel), and many other solutions.
Stay in the driver’s seat. Find an occupational therapist or certified driver rehabilitation specialist at the following websites:
- Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists Phone (828) 855-1623 or toll free at (877) 529-1830.
- American Occupational Therapy Association Phone 301-652-2882
For more information on local adapted vehicle dealers, contact the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) toll free at (866) 948-8341 or online at www.NMEDA.com.