Cognitive problems, self-rated changes in driving skills, driving-related discomfort and self-regulation of driving in old drivers

Annette Meng, Anu Kristiina Siren

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Ageing in general is associated with functional decline that may have an adverse effect on driving. Nevertheless, older drivers have been found to show good judgement and to self-regulate their driving, which may enable them to continue driving safely despite functional decline. The process of the self-monitoring of driving ability and the awareness of functional decline, and its association with the self-regulation of driving is, however, not fully understood. The aim of the present study was to examine the perceived changes in driving skills, the discomfort experienced in driving, and the self-regulation of driving as measured by the avoidance of certain driving situations by older drivers with different levels of self-rated cognitive problems. Eight hundred and forty Danish drivers aged 75–95 completed a structured telephone interview. The results showed that the recognition of cognitive problems was associated with an experience of improvement in higher level driving skills but also of a decline in lower level driving skills. Moreover, cognitive problems recognised by drivers were associated with discomfort in, and avoidance of, driving situations. Finally, a linear relationship between discomfort in driving and avoidance was found and this tended to be stronger for drivers recognising cognitive problems. The results indicate that older drivers who recognise problems with cognitive functions display good self-assessment of changes in their driving skills. In addition, the results suggest that driving-related discomfort is an important factor affecting the self-regulation of driving. Finally, the findings indicate that driving-related discomfort functions as an indirect self-monitoring of driving ability and may contribute to the safe driving performance of Danish older drivers.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAccident Analysis & Prevention
    Volume49
    Pages (from-to)322-329
    ISSN0001-4575
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Keywords

    • Older drivers
    • Self-regulatory driving
    • Driving-related stress
    • Cognitive functioning
    • Self-assessed driving skills

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