There’s a sense of independence and self-reliance that’s exclusive to getting behind the wheel. The thought of ultimately letting that freedom go is not an easy one, but sometimes it is necessary in the name of your safety and the safety of other motorists.
Whether it’s the progression of specific health issues or the effects of age, your ability to safely operate a vehicle can change over time. Knowing how and when to get a driving evaluation can help ensure that you’re protecting yourself on the road.
Know Yourself and Be Honest
It can be difficult to admit to yourself that you might lose the ability to drive. But being honest about your aptitude behind the wheel is as important as being realistic about your general well-being.
When you drive a vehicle, you’ll need to be able to think and react quickly — especially in emergency situations. If your judgment or cognition are impaired, or if you’re physically struggling to operate a vehicle, you may not be able to safely control your vehicle.
Before you seek out a professional driving evaluation, ask yourself frankly how you feel about your ability to drive safely. AAA offers a self-assessment of driving practices and habits targeted at people aged 65 and older. Even if you’re not at that age, the questionnaire is a good baseline for the questions you can ask yourself to determine how safe you’re being at the wheel.
Once you’ve looked honestly at your driving abilities, you can decide whether it’s appropriate to schedule a driving evaluation. Even if you feel that you’re doing well, getting a professional second opinion every so often can help reaffirm your confidence.
Listen to Your Loved Ones
For as hard as it can be to admit to yourself when your driving skills are deteriorating, it can be as or more difficult to hear the same from someone whose opinion matters to you. But if your partner, child, or friend tells you that they’re concerned about your safety, it’s best to set your pride aside and listen.
Your loved ones no doubt only want what’s best for you, and that includes making sure that you are safe when you hit the road. If someone close to you expresses concern about your driving, try not to see it as anything but that person looking out for your well-being.
It’s also natural to disagree if someone says they don’t think you should be driving, even if you know it’s coming from a place of love and caring. That’s where getting the opinion of an expert comes into play. Getting a neutral third opinion from someone who encounters other drivers like you on a regular basis can help you address concerns your loved ones may have and put your own mind at ease.
Reasons to Consider a Driving Evaluation
Opting for a driving evaluation is a smart idea even if you don’t believe that much has changed in terms of your abilities. If you suffer from a chronic condition like diabetes, arthritis, or multiple sclerosis, or if you suffer from other health issues, testing every so often will help you ensure that your skills are staying sharp even if you don’t notice any changes. Think of it a bit like a general checkup like what you’d have with your doctor.
Vision is certainly one of the most important senses you’ll need to safely operate a vehicle. If you believe that you’re having issues with sight, be it difficulty driving at night or a lack of depth perception, a driving evaluation includes vision testing that considers how safe you’d be at the wheel of a vehicle.
Another reason to consider a proper evaluation is if it’s been a while since you’ve driven a vehicle. If you’ve been unable to drive for any reason, a driving evaluation lets you be certain that you’re truly ready to take the wheel again. It’s also a good decision if your driving habits have changed — say, for example, you’ve recently moved and do more driving at night or spend more time on the highway than what you’re used to.
Scheduling a driving assessment may feel intimidating if you consider the worst-case outcome. But like in so many other things, being proactive about your driving skills can pay dividends that extend your ability to drive. If an evaluation picks up on issues that could impact your ability to drive in the long run, your test administrator can recommend corrective actions, coaching, or rehabilitation to get you back on track.
Where to Get a Professional Driving Evaluation
Once you’ve made the decision that a driving assessment is right for you, you’ll need to seek out a professional capable of giving you the facts. For this, you can rely on organizations like The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists. This wonderful organization trains and certifies driver rehabilitation specialists and professionals who help drivers of all ages and abilities.
With the help of an ADED-certified specialist, you’ll get an honest evaluation of your abilities. And you’ll have a wide range of options available to you. Just use ADED’s search tool to find a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist in your area and you can schedule your consultation and assessment.
A professional driving evaluation is fairly straightforward. It will include in-clinic testing, which covers things like motor function, perception, reaction time and attention. These are all skills critical for safe driving and will be used to help determine if you can be safe at the wheel of a vehicle.
Professional driving evaluations also put you behind the wheel to see how you perform in real-world driving situations. This allows your ADED-certified professional to observe how you perform the necessary functions of driving and assess your skills fairly and honestly.
All told, the process can take upwards of 3-8 hours. At the conclusion, your driving rehabilitation specialist will go over their observations and make recommendations that can help keep you driving safely longer. If necessary, your specialist can set you up with training and rehabilitation that will help keep your skills sharp. They may also recommend important vehicle modifications that you can get at Rollx Vans, including hand controls, steering devices and foot pedals, specialized mirrors, and lifts or ramps.
When it comes to achieving independence in mobility, Rollx Vans is here to help. We’re not just a safe, convenient, and trusted provider of wheelchair-accessible mobility vehicles for the past 40 years — we’re also an excellent resource for all your mobility-related needs.