Each December, Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is observed during the first full week of the month. This week is a great opportunity for families to assess the driving skills of their older relatives. Here are some steps concerned families can take to determine whether it may be time for their older loved ones to stop driving.
Complete a Self- Assessment
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed a self-assessment that guides you through a checklist of conditions that may impact your driving and offers solutions. Click here to complete the self-assessment: https://www.nhtsa.gov/older-drivers/driving-safely-while-aging-gracefully.
Get a Professional Assessment
The first type of professional assessment is a driving skills evaluation, which is conducted by a state-licensed and trained driving instructor. The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) provides resources to help you obtain a professional evaluation: https://mva.maryland.gov/safety/Pages/older/driver-self-assessment-tools.aspx.
The second is to go through a clinical assessment, which is conducted by an Occupational Therapist Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (OT-DRS). This specialist can help you determine whether you are fit to drive, if you could benefit from some extra training, or if it may be time to hand over the keys. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has a list of Driving Specialists that can help in your area here: https://myaota.aota.org/driver_search/index.aspx/index.aspx.
Get Car Aids
Tools are available to make driving your vehicle easier when mobility becomes more complicated. These aids can help you get in the car, buckle your seatbelt, and reach the pedals, which may help make driving easier. This will minimize your risk of getting into an accident while maintaining independence. Check out this article from Senior Safety Advice for more information: https://seniorsafetyadvice.com/11-car-aids-for-seniors-that-make-driving-more-comfortable/