Self-regulation of driving and its relationship to driving ability among older adults

Accid Anal Prev. 2006 Sep;38(5):1038-45. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2006.04.016. Epub 2006 May 24.


Although it is known that older drivers limit their driving, it is not known whether this self-regulation is related to actual driving ability. A sample of 104 older drivers, aged between 60 and 92, completed a questionnaire about driving habits and attitudes. Ninety of these drivers also completed a structured on-road driving test. A measure of self-regulation was derived from drivers' self-reported avoidance of difficult driving situations. The on-road driving test involved a standard assessment used to determine fitness to drive. Driving test scores for the study were based on the number of errors committed in the driving tests, with weightings given according to the seriousness of the errors. The most commonly avoided difficult driving situations, according to responses on the questionnaire, were parallel parking and driving at night in the rain, while the least avoided situation was driving alone. Poorer performance on the driving test was not related to overall avoidance of difficult driving situations. Stronger relationships were found between driving ability and avoidance of specific difficult driving situations. These specific driving situations were the ones in which the drivers had low confidence and that the drivers were most able to avoid if they wished to.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Task Performance and Analysis*