Driving Simulators

In Health & Safety, Lifestyle, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Skill Development, Therapist's Thoughts by Ginny RiegerLeave a Comment

Did you know that 91% of all American adults will have a driver’s license in 2024? More than 9 out of 10 adult Americans drive – that’s 239.2 million people who drive in the US! Driving plays a huge role in our daily lives. People drive for work, leisure, recreation and more. Driving is an essential skill for many people, providing independence and freedom to move around. For many individuals, driving safely can be a challenge. Aging, cognitive changes due to injury or illness, neuro-divergent individuals, people with physical limitations or injury, and people with low vision all may have challenges that can affect the safe operation of a vehicle. Fortunately, driving simulators are effective tools to help individuals overcome these challenges and improve their driving skills.

Driving simulators are virtual environments that mimic real-life driving scenarios and provide a safe and controlled environment for individuals to practice their driving skills. They offer a range of benefits for individuals with skill deficits, including the following:

  1. Regulated environment: Individuals are able to practice their driving skills without the risks associated with being on the road. This is especially important for individuals with skill deficits.
  2. Customizable settings: Driving simulators offer scenarios that can be tailored to the individual’s needs. For example, individuals with low vision can practice driving in low-light conditions, while individuals recovering from surgery can practice driving with limited mobility.
  3. Realistic feedback: Driving simulators provide realistic feedback to individuals, allowing them to identify areas where they need to improve. This feedback can be used to adjust the scenarios and tailor the training to the individual’s needs.
  4. Reduced anxiety: For individuals who may be anxious about driving, a simulator can help by providing a safe environment to build confidence behind the wheel.

Research supports the effectiveness of driving simulators in a clinical setting (1). Here at Advance Therapy, we recently built a driving simulator to use as a tool to help our patients in their daily living, and help those with deficits get back on the road or start their journey as a driver. Let us show you how driving simulators are effective tools for improving driving skill! If you or a loved one might benefit from the use of the driving simulator, please reach out to us for further screening or a consultation.

(1)Brouwer, B., & Middelkamp, J. (2002). Driving simulator training for stroke patients: feasibility and effectiveness. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 39(6), 681-690.



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