Driving Post-Stroke with a Left Foot Accelerator

Meet Michael.

Michael returns to driving post-stroke using a left foot accelerator.

Michael has returned to driving post-stroke with a left foot accelerator!

Please join me in congratulating Michael on passing his adaptive equipment driving test on a very cold and windy Tuesday!

Michael is a young, very independent, hard-working father. About a month into the pandemic, he woke up, alone in his home, unable to move the right side of his body. He had suffered a stroke & needed help immediately. At that moment, he remembers feeling extremely hopeless and helpless.

I can’t even begin to imagine what that must of felt like.

With gratitude, Michael speaks of the many following months that he spent focused on his recovery. He told me he’s so grateful to the occupational therapist who mentioned driving and finding a specialist to learn to drive with a left foot accelerator. (The left foot accelerator is a piece of adaptive driving equipment prescribed by an OT Driver Rehabilitation Specialist. Learn More about the left foot accelerator below). These OTs gave him THE HOPE & motivation he needed to regain his independence.

When met Michael, he was six months post-stroke and ready to look at driving. He was living at his parents’ home and working to adapt his own home while he finished his last piece of recovery – driving. 

With his right leg and arm out of commission, we began exploring a left foot accelerator & spinner knob options. He quickly picked up how to use this equipment and became proficient.

Today, I’m beyond excited to share that yesterday he passed his Pennsylvania medical driver’s test with flying colors, and TODAY he is moving back into his home.


After he passed…

As we sat in the PennDOT lobby, waiting for the restrictions to be applied to his license, I asked Michael which was better? Passing his test as a teenager for the first time or passing his test today. He paused, and then with the biggest smile and a tear in his eye said,

“Today. Today means so much more.”
Being able to drive, means Michael can go home and live by himself.
It means absolute independence again.
It means autonomy.
It means being a dad in every way he wants to be.
Simply put, “Being able to drive means everything.”


He said at the inpatient and outpatient level he had OTs encouraging him to think about driving, thinking about working with a specialist for a left foot accelerator and becoming fully independent. He mentioned how powerful it was to have that encouragement, even on those days when it was hard just to get out of bed.


From the generalist in the clinic to the specialist in the car, an OT can make all the difference.

Are you ready to change lives?

Which will you be, the OT generalist in the clinic? Or are you one of the elites who will become the OT Driver Rehabilitation Specialist?
Both roles change lives. Both roles make a difference. Be an OT that addresses driving.
Start your training today! Take the first course for free.

The left foot accelerator requires training with a driver rehabilitation specialist.

Left foot accelerators (like the one pictured here) are a piece of adaptive driving equipment prescribed by an OT driver rehabilitation specialist. It is the role of the OT-DRS to complete a comprehensive driving evaluation, help determine potential equipment options, provide evaluation & training for the equipment, & then write a prescription for the equipment. The OT-DRS then helps the client connect with a skilled adaptive equipment installer. You can find a list of these installers at NMEDA.  Please note, purchasing adaptive equipment off of the internet is not recommended. Adaptive driving equipment needs to be selected to meet the individual driver’s needs and installed in the specific vehicle. This is important for safety and liability. These specialists are trained at finding the best solution for the driver and their vehicle.

Have questions?
Interested in learning more about adaptive equipment? Check you this youtube video.
Reach out at any time! susie@adaptivemobility.com
Are you an OT looking for a tribe? Join us on Facebook: Driving Rehab for the OT.

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.