Almost all seniors who get a driving evaluation do so as a request from a physician or relative. The physician is usually a neurologist, and the relative a wife, son or daughter. This is often the result of a recent stroke, fall, surgery, or improper control of the brake and fuel pedals. The neurologist will often prescribe dopamine for some types of strokes, as a result when evaluating the person's driving skills, drug side effects must be considered. Also, because strokes destroy blood vessels, the driver should be asked about any recent issues of delirium or dementia. The surgery usually relates to the knees, or hips.
Many stroke victims are often over the age of seventy years old. During such evaluations, stroke victims should be questioned about any issues of seizures. There is a certain fragility after this age, and that must be considered during the evaluations also. This includes dexterity, mobility, ease of accessing and exiting the automobile, foot placement on appropriate pedals, speed and flow in traffic, riding the lines, drifting in traffic when being passed, and reaction to traffic signs and signals.
Seizures may occur in stroke victims, during times of stress, anger or increased blood pressure; although high blood pressure combined with drinking and smoking is enough to cause strokes. When driving an automobile, the driver may appear to perform all functions well, but there is often one recurring and subtle issue that points to a potential problem - the reason for the stroke and what parts of the brain was affected.
The typical senior driver is not a dangerous driver despite the characterization of being too slow. Seniors often drive slow because of the obvious - they are seniors, therefore, safety, getting there and back, are their most important concerns. Most incidents when they happen usually involves fender benders, which when happens too frequently is another reason for a driving evaluation. However, there are the important issues of dementia and vision. When vision is finally compromised, or the driver is no longer able to find themselves back home, then driving may no longer be the best choice.