Safe driving

Safety on our roads is an issue for all Canadians. As so many of us rely on the car as a means of transportation and independence, it is important that those who drive do all that they can to ensure they are ‘fit’ for driving by addressing any obstacles or conditions that limit their abilities. Occupational therapists (OTs) can help. An occupational therapist can:

  • Evaluate your driving capacity
  • Ensure your seating posture in the vehicle is optimal 
  • Propose interventions or vehicle modifications 
  • Recommend adapted equipment to enhance your driving practice 
  • Help find alternative transportation options

Warning signs of unsafe driving

Age alone does not determine a person’s ability to remain a safe driver. Many older adults continue to be safe drivers and make decisions to avoid driving situations in which they feel less confident. However, as you age, changes in your abilities make some activities more difficult. It is important to recognize changes that can affect your ability to drive safely.

For example:

Vision You may begin to notice glare and find it more difficult to see in the dark, scan the environment, or see things in your peripheral vision.

Physical   You may feel weaker, stiff, experience pain or move more slowly.

Cognition   You may have more difficulty remembering things,making decisions or doing activities when there are distractions.

Reaction Time   You may find it more difficult to react quickly in different situations.

Warning signs:

  • You lose your way.
  • You have less confidence in your driving skills.
  • You notice other drivers honk at you.
  • You miss stop signs or traffic lights.
  • You mix up gas and brake pedals.
  • You have problems with lane changes or merging.
  • You have minor accidents or traffic tickets.
  • Your passenger needs to help you.
  • Family and friends refuse to get in the car with you.

If these warning signs reflect your situation, maybe it is time to make some changes to your driving strategies or have your driving evaluated.

Information for you 

The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) is pleased to provide these materials in support of safe driving for Canadians: 

Safe driving tips for older drivers 

English 

French 

   

Information for Older Adults  

English  

French  

Chinese ( traditional and simplified

Italian  

Punjabi  

   

Information for Families of Older Drivers   

English

French  

Chinese ( traditional and simplified

Italian  

Punjabi  

   

Driving & Alzheimer's disease  

English  

French  

Chinese   

Italian

Punjabi

   

Driving & Diabetes  

English  

French  

Chinese ( traditional and simplified

Italian  

Punjabi  

   

Driving & Stroke 

English  

French  

Chinese ( traditional and simplified

Italian  

Punjabi

Copyright 2016 Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
powered by in1touch
100-34 Colonnade Road
Ottawa, ON K2E 7J6 Canada