Safety on our roads is an issue for all Canadians. As so many of us rely on the car as a means of transportation and independence, it is important that those who drive do all that they can to ensure they are ‘fit’ for driving by addressing any obstacles or conditions that limit their abilities. Occupational therapists (OTs) can help. An occupational therapist can:
- Evaluate your driving capacity
- Ensure your seating posture in the vehicle is optimal
- Propose interventions or vehicle modifications
- Recommend adapted equipment to enhance your driving practice
- Help find alternative transportation options
Warning signs of unsafe driving
Age alone does not determine a person’s ability to remain a safe driver. Many older adults continue to be safe drivers and make decisions to avoid driving situations in which they feel less confident. However, as you age, changes in your abilities make some activities more difficult. It is important to recognize changes that can affect your ability to drive safely.
Vision You may begin to notice glare and find it more difficult to see in the dark, scan the environment, or see things in your peripheral vision.
Physical You may feel weaker, stiff, experience pain or move more slowly.
Cognition You may have more difficulty remembering things,making decisions or doing activities when there are distractions.
Reaction Time You may find it more difficult to react quickly in different situations.
- You lose your way.
- You have less confidence in your driving skills.
- You notice other drivers honk at you.
- You miss stop signs or traffic lights.
- You mix up gas and brake pedals.
- You have problems with lane changes or merging.
- You have minor accidents or traffic tickets.
- Your passenger needs to help you.
- Family and friends refuse to get in the car with you.
If these warning signs reflect your situation, maybe it is time to make some changes to your driving strategies or have your driving evaluated.
Information for you
The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) is pleased to provide these materials in support of safe driving for Canadians:
Safe driving tips for older drivers
Information for Older Adults
Information for Families of Older Drivers
Driving & Alzheimer's disease
Driving & Diabetes
Driving & Stroke