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What OTs Can Do: Screening, Assessment, Equipment

Driving is a very complex skill that requires certain physical, visual, and mental abilities. As people age, those abilities often change in subtle ways. For example, we may find it more difficult to see while driving at night.

Most of us go to the doctor for regular physical check-ups. It’s also just as important to get a check-up for driving fitness. After all, for most of us, driving is our main way to stay connected to the community and is a key to our independence.

Some driving fitness evaluations you can do yourself. If you are concerned about the results of these informal self-assessments, however, you should seek a formal driving check-up from an occupational therapist driving rehabilitation specialist. Find a driving rehabilitation specialist.

Intervention

Intervention is based on a plan that is drawn up between the client and the therapist. The goal of intervention is to explore ways for individuals to drive safely for a longer period of time. Occupational therapists trained in driving rehabilitation can suggest solutions, including:

  • Adaptive equipment, such as a wide-angle mirror, seat cushions, left-foot gas pedal, or hand controls. 
  • Training both in the clinic and behind the wheel to strengthen your ability to drive safely and, if needed, to use adaptive equipment. 
  • Information about using community transportation options, such as public transportation, personal taxi services, and para-transit, to help with the transition from driving for some trips or as an alternative to driving.