Millions of Canadians drive daily as an essential means of transportation. Driving is a highly valued and meaningful occupation for some people as it symbolizes independence and freedom. Driving is used to complete daily activities like going to the grocery store, bank, attending appointments and engaging in social activities. As the Canadian population's average age continues to increase, safe driving strategies need to be maintained to minimize driving-related accidents. Being unable to drive can significantly affect a person's quality of life as it may result in loss of independence, decreased self-esteem, isolation, and depression. Without alternative means to transportation, loss of driving ability may mean the difference between living at home and moving to an institution. Occupational therapists work with clients to enable them to drive to participate in their day to day activities. When completing driving evaluations with clients, an occupational therapist may:
-complete assessments to determine factors that affect driving, including medications or functional limitations, such as range of motion or strength
-check a client's vision for their ability to judge distance appropriately or evaluate cognitive and perceptual abilities by measuring reaction time
-complete an on-road assessment to evaluate a clients ability to problem-solve and respond to traffic in real-time
-educate and support clients who may require a driving refresher course or lessons with an instructor
-offer specialized training in driver rehabilitation to help individuals remain mobile and independent
-suggest adaptive devices that can assist with driving ability
-identify appropriate transportation alternatives as clients transition to using other methods of transportation.