Occupational therapy services:
What is Driving Matters?
McCulloch, Harrison and Partners OT’s recognise how neurological conditions significantly affect a patients ability to return to driving, and realise the impact of this on a patients independence and identity. They therefore developed an off-road driving assessment and re-education programme for patients who have the potential to return to safe and competent driving, with or without adaptations.
Driving Matters started in January 2011 and has become a well-established service on offer. Many doctors refer patients to us specifically for driving assessments, whilst other patients find us independently, or are existing patients of ours who have progressed to the point of wanting to drive again.
The driving assessment is designed to assess a range of skills needed for driving, including cognition, vision, perception, physical abilities and reaction speed. The assessment also includes knowledge of road rules and a static car performance to assess how you operate the primary and secondary controls in your car. It usually takes 2-2.5hours to complete which is also a test of mental and physical endurance important for driving.
If you pass this off-road assessment, a referral is made to a driving instructor to conduct a brief on-road assessment to complete the process of ensuring you are safe and competent. Driving lessons may also be recommended if these are needed to refine certain skills and improve driver confidence.
The risks involved in returning to driving after an injury/medical condition without being retested are significant, to the patient and others on the road. It also poses problems with the traffic law and with insurance companies, so it is strongly encouraged.
How do I make an appointment with Driving Matters?
To make an appointment, please phone RehabMatters reception on 011 803 6649 or contact Haley Norval or Sacha Hildebrandt (firstname.lastname@example.org) via email.
What happens if I do not pass the off-road driving assessment?
In the event you do not pass the off-road assessment, the assessing therapist will expain why and make appropriate recommendations. It may be that you require a referral to an optometrist for new glasses or visual retraining, or you may benefit from a period of therapy to improve certain skills that are sufficiently impaired to affect your driving. After a period of time, you can be reassessed for driving, pending your progress in therapy. In the worst case scenario, it may be that the reasons you failed the assessment are too significant and/or permanent, and returning to driving is not possible.