Driving Simulators

I got a great question today about driving simulators and brands.

Here are some quick thoughts:

  • Driving Simulators DO NOT REPLACE a driving evaluation
  • However, driving simulators are great for preparing the client to return to driving or, in some cases, to help with driving retirement conversations
  • Not all driving simulators are created equal! So It is important to test drive and see what works best for your clients & clinic
  • Simulator sickness is a real thing! Just ask Felicia Fezio Chew 🙂 So make sure you go with a company that works specifically to reduce simulator sickness
  • OT Generalists CAN use and bill for interventions provided using a simulator, so work with a simulator company that has some knowledge about this and has training options
  • Partnering with an OT DRS is very helpful when it comes to simulators to help with readiness for referrals to a driving evaluation and to guide
  • BONUS some simulators come with adaptive driving equipment. I loved this as an OT DRS for introducing equipment and for training other OT DRS!

My personal experience is with the DriveSafety simulator. This is a great simulator developed by a group of wonderful, professions. Doug and his team are helpful, kind, and wicked smart. I love the DriveSafety because of the 4 Phase levels. As a clinician new to a simulator you can start with Phase 1 and then advance as you become more comfortable. DriveSafety has proven training courses for using the simulator and even helpful clinical resources for matching performance skills with the simulator tasks.

To learn more about Drive Safety, check them out at http://drivesafety.com/.

Excited to learn more? If you are attending the ADED Conference in August, make sure to visit our driving simulator research poster! Watch for articles in ADED NewsBrake, try out simulators at the annual AOTA Conference Transportation Zone, and take a peek at some of the research out there.

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.