Examination of Older Driver Perceptions and Actual Behavior in Sole Household Drivers and Driving Couples

This dissertation reports on research that explored the role of driver perceptions on driving behavior, contrasting perceptions to actual driving abilities. The author extended previous research by examining driver perceptions in relation to measures of actual driving behavior and compared the perceptions and behavior or sole versus couple drivers. Participants aged 67 to 92 (59% women) were recruited as either sole drivers, defined as the only driver in the household (n = 39), or couples (both currently driving and sharing a vehicle, n = 22). In-vehicle devices were installed in the participants' vehicles for a period of one week. Participants also completed trip logs, out-of-home activity diaries, questions on usual driving habits, and ratings of situational driving frequency and avoidance. Couples were also asked to rate their comfort level with their partner's driving. The study found that driving comfort scores were significantly related to multiple factors of actual driving behavior, including distance from home, and total distance overall and at night. Perceived abilities were related to distance driven. Although sole drivers were significantly older, they drove more often, longer distances and for greater duration than couple drivers. Overall, men had higher Driving Comfort Scale (DCS) scores and, in couples, were more likely to rate themselves higher than their spouses. When couples drove together, traditional roles were likely, i.e., the husband often preferred to drive and the wife let him. The author concludes that the study results support earlier research on self-reported driving and extend the knowledge base by incorporating perceptions into the understanding of actual driving behavior.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01151043
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 16 2010 5:56AM