Addressing Driver Concerns


The topic of driving and the thought of not being able to drive can bring up a lot of emotions – worry, anxiety, stress – to name a few. I get it. So when I first meet a driver, I like to share that it is my goal to maximize their independence and safety. Because I look at the whole picture objectively, from the driver’s point of view, regardless of the outcome, they almost always end our time by telling me, “thank you.” 

This is a big deal to me. These clients need to be heard and seen and hearing them thank me, especially when the outcome isn’t what they wanted, indicates that I have done that well. 

Here are some of the most common concerns that I hear from clients when they call and throughout the assessment process:

Do I need a driving assessment?

Medical conditions can change the way we move, think, and see. If you show any of these changes or other characteristics, you may benefit from a driving evaluation with Adaptive Mobility:

  • Slower reaction time
  • Shorter attention span
  • Lagging reflexes
  • Stiff joints or weak muscles
  • Poor eyesight
  • Diminished night vision
  • Hearing problems
  • Reduced memory
  • Poor decision-making skills
  • Forgetfulness
  • Drowsiness or medication effects
  • Increase in accidents or near misses
  • Physical impairments
  • Recent major medical illnesses or events
  • Increased anxiety and agitation
  • Frequent falls

What is a driving evaluation?

A driving evaluation looks to see if your recent injury or illness is impacting your safety behind-the-wheel.  It includes three main steps.

Step 1: Clinical testing of sensation, vision, movement, & thinking.

Step 2: Behind-the-wheel assessment in a driving rehab vehicle.

Step 3: Discussion of outcomes.

Can I use my own car for the evaluation?

Step 2 of the driving evaluation takes place in our driving rehab car. We use our car because it has special equipment for added safety.

Don’t worry! We appreciate that driving someone else’s car requires adjustment. Therefore, the first thing we will do is give you time to get used to our car. Then, once you are ready, the evaluation will begin.

What are the typical outcomes of a driving evaluation?

During step 3 of the driving evaluation, we will talk to you and your family member about your outcome. Your OT DRS will talk about patterns of safety or concern with driving. Outcomes may include return or continue driving, additional driving training, holding on driving with plans for re-evaluation or driving retirement.

Will you take my driver’s license?

No, as specialists, we evaluate your performance with driving and any impact from illness or injury. We work with you, your family, and your doctor to help determine safe goals with driving. At times we will be asked to send reports to the motor vehicle department, but we will always discuss this with you first. The motor vehicle department is the licensing agency that holds all authority for your driver’s license.

When is driver training recommended?

Sometimes, driving training may be helpful if you have not driven for a while or are recovering from a new injury. Training is also provided if you are learning to drive with adaptive equipment. After your evaluation, your specialist will talk to you about recommendations for driving training and provide you with a plan. Driving training sessions typically run from 1.5 to 2 hours, and the number of training sessions varies from driver to driver.

Who will receive a copy of my driver evaluation?

Outcomes are shared with your referring doctor and may be shared with your state licensing agency.

What if my driver’s license has been suspended?

If your driver’s license has been suspended, please reach out to us. We may still be able to help! Our specialists are skilled in understanding various state licensing & permit processes.

Why do I need a referral order from my doctor?

Many of our clients are recovering from a medical illness or injury and therefore need to secure their doctor’s permission to participate in the driving evaluation. The referral order for an “Occupational Therapy Driving Evaluation & treatment” serves as permission to evaluate you.

Check out more frequently asked questions here.

Susie Touchinsky

Susie Touchinsky, OTR/L, SCDCM, CDRS is an occupational therapist and certified driver rehabilitation specialist offering decades of experience, knowledge, and professional support for drivers, families, caregivers, and practitioners.