Are you worried about an elderly whose driving skills and experience are deteriorating? Then we think it’s time you know how driving evaluation for seniors works. It’s sometimes hard for seniors to accept the changes that come with ageing. To them, their independence is being taken from them, but we know you are just looking out for them. Driving evaluation protects your loved one from road risks due to these changes.

What is Driving Evaluation?

Driving evaluation for seniors is usually for those with age-related changes or medical conditions that affect their driving skills. It is an assessment that tests an individual’s ability to operate a vehicle. This test is carried out by professionals that specialize in occupational therapy.

Common medical conditions that could impact the skills vital for safe vehicle operations include:

Some general age-related changes that could affect an elderly person’s driving skills include:

  • Memory loss
  • Slower perceptual skills
  • Visual impairments or decreased visual acuity
  • Change in reaction speed or mobility
  • Reduction In balance, flexibility, and muscle strength

How does the test work?

Driving evaluation for seniors

Driving assessment programs somewhat vary from one provider to another. But generally, Driving evaluation for seniors consists of two sorts of tests: A clinical assessment and an on-the-road test.

  1. Clinical assessment.

This test is also known as pre-driving evaluation, and an occupational therapist handles it in a therapy clinic. These specialists evaluate the patients’ vision, mobility, strength, coordination, reaction speed, and cognitive skills.

This stage of driving evaluation for seniors determines potential concerns and the patient’s capabilities, or if there is a need for adaptive driving tools like expandable mirrors for seniors that can’t stretch their necks so much, extendable seatbelts, left foot accelerators, and cushions inside the car.

  1. On-the-road test.

This phase of driving evaluation for seniors involves your loved one driving. The clinic provides the car, and the evaluator observes the patient throughout the road test. The vehicle is equipped with the adaptive tools from the clinical assessment previously conducted.

These tools ensure the safety of your loved one, the evaluator, and other roadway users. This test is carried out under different traffic conditions so that the evaluator can create an accurate report of their capabilities under various conditions.

After these evaluations, the occupational therapist reviews the test report from both phases of the driving evaluation for seniors. A detailed description is made and sent to a physician or the professional who recommended the test. Based on the report, they decide if the patient should resume or quit driving.

Road signs indicating the need for driving evaluation

Are you noticing some mishaps or brief confusion while your loved one is driving? Then we think it’s time you start a conversation about driving evaluation for seniors to them. Some warning signs that occur while driving are;

  • Confusion on exit or entrance ramps
  • Getting lost in areas they are familiar with.
  • Reduced mobility in and out of the vehicle
  • Driving in wrong lanes and having difficulty navigating turns
  • Hitting curbs and frequent falls
  • Shower reaction time

Conclusion

In some countries, citizens, after reaching a particular age, are required to have a driving evaluation for seniors done before renewing their license. It helps them reflect on their health and how it actively affects their driving. We hope we’ve been able to help you. See you next time.