Self Assessment Driving Tools for Older Drivers

Self-assessments can be a useful tool in determining your driving ability and limitations. Assessments can be performed on a regular basis as our physical, mental, and visual abilities change with time. Results can be evaluated and benchmarked against safety guidelines, ensuring you are still a responsible and safe driver.

This test can be used for a personal assessment as self-assessment is a useful way to determine ability.

It is generally expected that as over time, scores worsen with age, however, recognizing and offsetting these limitations with alternative strategies can improve your ability to continue driving on the road. If you are concerned about any of these, you may consider consulting your physician.

Driver Skills Self-Assessment Questionnaire

The following is a typical DMV provided questionnaire used to allow drivers to self-assess their driving behaviors and abilities:

Hearing Yes No
With the car windows rolled up, can you hear
a siren or horn?
Can you hear the sound of your turn signals
when they are on?
Vision Yes No
Can you see objects clearly?    
Can you see clearly at night?    
Can you go outside in the bright sunlight and
immediately see clearly?
NOTE: This does not pertain to going outside in the sunlight from a dark room.
Can you see clearly over the steering wheel?    
Head and Neck Yes No
Can you turn your head an equal distance
from one side to the other?
Can you turn your head and neck far enough
to see over your shoulders?
Arms and Hands Yes No
Can you drive long distances without your
hands and arms being tired?
Can you drive for a minimum of 30 minutes
without your fingers or arms becoming tingly
or numb?
Can you keep a firm, but comfortable grip
on the steering wheel with both hands while
keeping your elbows bent and relaxed?
Can you lift your arm high enough to adjust
the rear view mirror?
Can you cross your hands one over the other
when turning the steering wheel?
Legs and Feet Yes No
Can you keep the heel of your foot on the floor while switching between the gas and the brake
Can you depress the brake pedal with your
knee bent?
Can you sit for 15 minutes without your feet
or legs becoming tingly or numb?
Do you use only your right foot to depress
either the gas or brake pedals?
Can you bend your foot at least 10 degree    
Cognitive Yes No
Can you easily decide when to enter
a lane of moving traffic?
Are you comfortable driving in intersections?    
Are you calm while driving?    
Do you have a clean driving record with no
tickets or collisions?
Has a very close family member or friend said
you are an excellent driver?
Can you remember how to get to familiar

Questions for Both Ride-Along’s As Well as Self-Assessment

While the following mistakes can happen to anyone, a high frequency of such mistakes may indicate cognitive or physical decline in the individual. Spending time as a passenger in the older adult’s car can provide useful feedback, especially because in many cases, the driver is unaware of their mistakes. The driver will also find these useful for self-assessment:

  1. Do they ever confuse the gas pedal with the brake?
  2. Do they lift their legs, and heel off the floor, to switch between gas and brake pedals?
  3. Do they run through red lights, or especially stop signs?
  4. When traffic is moving slow, do they honk, or otherwise have difficulty adapting to fast changing conditions?
  5. Are they weaving across lanes, or driving between two lanes? Additionally, failure to signal may indicate they are changing lanes unknowingly, which is much worse if they are not using mirrors or checking blind spots.
  6. Do they ever get lost while driving, especially on common routes?
  7. Do they bump objects such as curbs, mailboxes, fences, or other objects?
  8. Do they seem preoccupied, distracted, or unaware of things going on around them, including traffic signals, pedestrians, and other factors?
  9. Do they react slowly, have close calls, ?
  10. Do they complain often of getting lost?
  11. Do they get tickets frequently?
  12. Do they have difficulty looking over their shoulder to check their blind spot?

Older Driver Workbook “Be Safe, Not Sorry”:  A 16-page PDF that you can review common road laws, and help you identify available transportation alternatives in your area.

The purpose of this self-assessment is to promote safer driving by comparing your current driving abilities with the requirements for safe driving. By examining your driving, you are taking responsibility for your skills on the road and finding factors that can be improved to ensure safety for yourself and others.

The following is provided by and has review questions about road signs as well as 50 general safety multiple choice questions for older drivers. [PDF]


Next in this series: Steps to Communicating with Loved Ones to Limit or End Driving

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