Department of Psychology
Master of Arts
Do older drivers modify their driving habits in response to functional impairment? Older drivers who avoid challenging driving situations were compared with non-avoiders, to determine whether functional limitations were related to avoidance and whether avoidance is related to reducing crash risk. Results showed that, on the average, older drivers reported avoiding driving at night, on high traffic roads, on high speed roads, and in rush hour traffic while not avoiding left turns, driving in the rain, and driving alone. Subjects were placed into groups based on their cognitive and visual abilities. It was found that older drivers with an impaired UFOV and either 0, 1-2, or 3-4 vision problems reported avoiding significantly more than those with unimpaired cognition and vision. The number of at-fault crashes incurred in the 5 years prior to 1990 was positively related to driving avoidance (those who reported avoidance had a history of more crashes than those who did not report avoidance). However, the number of crashes incurred in the 3 years subsequent to 1990 was negatively related to avoidance (those who reported avoidance in 1990 had fewer crashes in future years than those who did not report avoidance). These results imply that older drivers modify their driving in response to crash involvement and/or functional limitations and that this "self-regulation" may reduce future crash risk.
Graves, Mark, "Avoidance Behavior in the Elderly Driver" (1996). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 873.