Between January 1987 and December 1988, information was collected to investigate the car use and driving performance of a group of 50 stroke drivers and 50 able-bodied drivers matched on sex, age, driving experience and current annual mileage. The principal conclusion was that those who returned to driving after a stroke were as safe as their able-bodied controls, as assessed by a Driving Test. However, in both groups there was evidence of a decline in basic driving skills from 60 years onwards. Of particular concern was the finding that stroke drivers over 70 years old demonstrated additional deficits residual to the stroke, although in the group studied this had not led to greater accident involvement. The investigation of car use demonstrated that although all drivers primarily used their cars for visiting friends or relatives and for shopping, some older drivers, particularly following a stroke, restricted their car use to avoid potentially dangerous situations. However, many were unaware of normal age-related changes which might affect vision, observation and reaction time. It is suggested that information on age-related changes for all drivers and retraining on driving techniques, particularly for those who have had a stroke, would enable those over 60 years to continue driving safely for as long as possible.

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