Despite the fact that driving is one of the most common parts of everyday life, doing it safely and consistently can be a complicated challenge. Add in any physical, cognitive, or visual complications, and driving can change from a standard part of your day to a significant hurdle.
For people who have suffered a stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain jury, or neurodegenerative disease, physical and cognitive challenges might be the first thing on your mind. After all, driving is a complex activity requiring both hands and legs, as well as dozens of internal controls and external stimuli.
However, the visual challenges that can sometimes come with recovering from these conditions can be just as challenging, if not more so, than the physical and cognitive difficulty.
In this article, we’ll be exploring extra car side mirrors. We’ll talk about why you might need them, how they work, and how you can go about getting them installed in your car.
The Challenges of Driving with Limited Visibility or Head Movement
It’s easy to take for granted exactly how important visibility is when driving a car, or forget exactly how much you rely on being able to check all sides of the vehicle.
During city driving, you have to be aware of the cars in front of you, behind you, and on both sides, especially when trying to change lanes. You also have to be aware of signs, lights, road signs, and any surprises that your drive might have in store.
On the highway, these challenges can be elevated. Thanks to much faster speeds, up to twice as many lanes, and a number of signs and exits to consider, you have to be even more aware of the cars and other vehicles around you.
Even just driving around the neighborhood, you may have to react quickly to people absentmindedly stepping into the streets, other drivers pulling out into the road, stray pets, and a wide variety of other stimuli that may require quick reactions.
This where the challenges of limited visibility or head movement can make themselves known.
How Extra Side Mirrors for Your Car Help You
Depending on your unique challenges, extra mirrors and adjusted mirrors can help fill in the literal and figurative blind spots you might have.
If you’ve had a stroke and your vision was affected, you may need to use special side mirrors (along with helpful tools like lane placement detection) to make sure that you can still keep your vehicle safely between the lines and react effectively to other cars.
If you have limited neck motion, extra mirrors and spot mirrors can help you look over your shoulder and assess your blind spot without the difficult, painful, or impossible process of turning your head or body to look.
Expanded mirrors, like panoramic rearview mirrors, also help you increase your awareness of what’s going on behind you, making it easier to stay focused and clear about what your surroundings are on the road.
How Do You Get Adjusted Mirrors?
Though you can typically purchase extra mirrors and mirror enhancements online or from your local vendors, we heavily recommend checking with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist before doing so. This is for three reasons.
First, if you’ve suffered a cognitive or visual change after a stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain jury, or neurodegenerative disease, it’s entirely possible that no amount of mirrors and additional equipment can help you safely drive.
Though this is often not the case, it’s always better to be prepared with the assistance of a professional before setting back out onto the road.
Second, in many states, any additional adaptive driving equipment requires a thorough recertification process before you’ll be legally allowed to return to the road.
And finally, a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist will be able to help you select exactly which mirrors and tools you may need in order to continue driving safely, comfortably and confidently.
This may sound like a daunting process as an alternative to simply buying more mirrors on Amazon, but in reality, it’s the safest, smartest, and most legal choice. And we’ll explain how you can work with a CDRS quickly and easily below.
Taking the Next Step | The Next Street Approach
Here at The Next Street Driver Rehab, we start any client relationship with a comprehensive clinical assessment, to help you understand your exact physical, cognitive, and visual challenges.
This is especially important after a stroke, spinal injury, or another brain diagnosis, as you may have some difficulties driving that you didn’t even know about.
Based on this comprehensive assessment, our professionals will be able to make a recommendation as to which training and equipment you might need (including extra side mirrors). They’ll also help you put together a training plan to help take the next step.
Our instructors can then work with you extensively to make sure that you’re comfortable in any number of situations on the road while using your new equipment. It takes a different amount of time for everyone, but the end result is that you’ll be confident and safe when you start driving solo.
Finally, once you’re comfortable with your ability behind the wheel, you’re ready to get certified to drive. Our instructors can help here too, and guide you through the process of getting approved to drive with your new equipment through your state and the DMV.
No matter what your situation, we’re here to help you safely, confidently, and comfortably capture the freedom of the open road, whether that’s behind the wheel or through alternative solutions.
If you’d like to learn more or schedule an initial free consultation, you can reach out to us at our Consultation Homepage or at 860-483-7009.