A First-Hand Senior Driver Evaluation Experience

David Flower, father of Jane Flower, our VP of Marketing, was concerned about his driving skills as he got older. For the 74 year old, mobility is a priority, and he wanted to make sure that he remains a knowledgable driver, for the safety of himself and everyone else on the road. So he took a brave step: opening himself up to evaluation in our Senior Driver In-Vehicle Evaluation program, offered through AMA Driver Education. David shared this with us — his anxiousness to be evaluated, his expectations of the program, and the realizations he’d come to afterwards; here’s his story, in his own words:

Opening Up to Evaluation

When I left home to drive to the Kingsway AMA offices to take the Senior Driver In-Vehicle Evaluation, I’ll admit, I was afraid. The last time I had taken a driving test was in 1966 when we arrived in Canada — and at that time, it was really a formality. Now, 48 years later, I’d decided to find out whether I was still capable of driving well enough not to be a hazard on the road.

Hesitation is Natural

I chose to take the evaluation back in March, as I thought it would be an interesting way to assess my driving. Now it was July and the day had finally come. I was having second thoughts about my decision, but Rick Robie, the instructor who conducted my evaluation, quickly put me at my ease with some straightforward questions about my driving and, specifically, my vision. That was the easy part. The “test” was the 45 minute in-car drive. I was on my best behaviour and had the added confidence that I was driving a marked AMA vehicle with safety brakes and mirrors for Rick to use, in case I needed a little assistance.

More than I Expected

The evaluation was comprehensive and, as I found out in the assessment, not only tested my driving ability but also my ability to see everything that was going on around me while I drove. I learned there were several idiosyncrasies in my driving that needed correcting. There were also some situations which I was apparently not fully aware of, and some instances I realize I’d forgotten the rules of the road!

The Feedback was Helpful

The whole experience proved to be valuable and, although a little intimidating at first, a most rewarding one. The private feedback session was detailed, mixing the good with the not-so-good. The confidential written evaluation will provide my wife and children with information that ensures that my overall driving is kept up to standard.

To Evaluate, or Not To Evaluate

Overall, the evaluation is well worth taking, although perhaps a little pricey for retired people, especially for an AMA member of 48 years. However, it is not only your own safety that is on the line but also that of others on the road. Rick, the course instructor, is to be congratulated on his patience, diligence and honesty. It is certainly an exercise I would recommend.

When you’re ready to have your driving skills evaluated by a licensed AMA instructor, sign up for our Seniors In-Vehicle Evaluation, call 1-833-374-8733, or stop by any AMA centre for more information.

Of course, we can’t drive forever. Find out more about the driving alternatives that AMA supports in Planning Your Retirement from Driving.

I am an Online Content Specialist from Edmonton at the AMA. Am happiest when it is gloriously gloomy outside.