Navigation and the mobility of older drivers

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 1999 Jan;54(1):S49-55. doi: 10.1093/geronb/54b.1.s49.


Objectives: Age related difficulties in navigating are believed to restrict driving mobility. A decline in mobility can have negative implications for peoples' well-being and independence. This problem may be more serious than the increased risk of collision that occurs with old age. The aim of this research was to determine the extent to which age-related difficulties in navigating restrict car travel.

Methods: A postal questionnaire survey of 1,186 United Kingdom (U.K.) motorists (aged 21 to 85 years) was conducted to determine more about people's mobility, the restrictions to their driving, and their driving experience.

Results: As predicted, respondents were found to report more navigation problems with increasing old age. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that navigation problems relate to reduced mobility (miles per week, trips per week, and average driving frequency) when controlling for other predictors of mobility (age, gender, employment, health, residential location, fitness, and ability to afford driving).

Discussion: This research highlights the need to have better navigational support for drivers, particularly elderly drivers. Improved roads signs and in-vehicle navigation aids are two solutions that might help enhance the mobility of elderly drivers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orientation*