The same way a brain fitness software program can help increase driving safety for older adults, simple cognitive tests may help determine whether a person can drive safely after a stroke.
A recent study analyzed 30 previous studies in which the participants’ driving skills after a stroke were tested in an on-road evaluation. 1,728 individuals with an average age of 61 were involved. On average, 9 months had passed between the stroke and the driving evaluation. Note that 54 percent of the participants passed the on-road evaluation.
The authors of the analysis looked for tests scores that could predict the actual driving evaluation outcome. They identified 3 simple cognitive tests that did quite well:
- a Road Sign Recognition test (assessing traffic knowledge and visual comprehension)
- a Compass task (assessing visual-perceptual and visual-spatial abilities and mental speed)
- the Trail Making Test B (assessing visual-motor tracking and visual scanning abilities)
Participants’ scores in these tests correctly predicted whether the actual driving test would be failed for 80 to 85 percent of the unsafe drivers. A very interesting alternative to time-consuming and expensive on-road tests.