Driving is often a major concern following a neurological injury. Movements, sensations, alertness, judgement, coordination, and vision can be adversely affected which may impair the ability to drive a car. If you or a loved one is experiencing some of these impairments, it is important to get evaluated by a doctor or rehabilitation professional.
For instance, an occupational therapist can provide a comprehensive in-clinic evaluation of a client’s current skills and deficits. From there a client could be sent for an in-vehicle assessment for further evaluation by a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS). They can assess driving skills in a controlled and safe environment. An in-vehicle driving test is the most thorough way to gauge a driver’s abilities. Each assessment takes about 1 hour and involves driving with a trained evaluator or driving in a computer simulator.
The “behind-the-wheel” evaluation will include testing for changes in key performance areas such as attention, memory, vision, reaction time, and coordination. After this assessment the CDRS can determine if the client is safe to drive, can not drive at all, or may drive with additional recommendations. Often times clients may require certain modifications to their car in order to drive safely. In addition, some clients may benefit from on-going classroom training and simulation training in order to meet safety standards. These are all services that a driver rehabilitation specialist can provide.