Assessment of your driving skills
A behind-the-wheel evaluation is one of the best methods for an older driver to learn about how well they are doing. A driving evaluation in your own car is one of the most helpful methods to determine your driving abilities.
A driving evaluation does not have to result in removal of driving privileges. Instead, an older driver can often make changes to continue to drive and drive safely.
To schedule a driving evaluation, contact a hospital, a clinic, or a commercial driving school that has a driver rehabilitation specialist. There is information below about driving assessments by the different specialists.
Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (DRS)
These specialists normally work in the health care field. You can often find a specialist for driving evaluations through an occupational therapy (OT) department in a clinic or hospital. Be aware that not all clinics and hospital OT departments have these specialists, and you may have to travel to find a facility with a specialist.
An evaluation conducted by a driver rehabilitation specialist includes both a physical evaluation and a driving evaluation. The physical evaluation includes checks of your vision, reaction times, and "cognitive ability" (the ability to think).
Following the physical evaluation, a driving evaluation takes place. This evaluation usually lasts one hour. The specialist then writes a report.
A DRS helps patients to drive again as they recover from an incident like a stroke or a traffic crash. A doctor, family member or a court may refer a driver to a DRS.
A DRS may use a specially-equipped vehicle to help evaluate and teach a driver who has a disability.
A DRS may discuss special equipment or training for the driver. A DRS may also discuss with the driver and family the need to stop driving if the evaluation suggests that it is safer to stop. The driver and family need to discuss these issues with the DRS before the evaluation.
Health insurance may pay the cost of an evaluation by a DRS if the driver was referred by a doctor or a health plan.
Professional Driving Instructor
Some commercial driving schools also conduct driving assessments. There are some driving schools with professional instructors who are specialists in older driver or disabled driver evaluations. Carefully evaluate the services available from the driving school.
Like a driver rehabilitation specialist, the driving school instructor can supply a written report. The report includes details about your driving skills and how you can improve your skills.
Driving schools are listed in the Yellow Pages under "Driving Instruction."