Confidence in, and self-rating of, driving ability among older drivers.
Active drivers (n = 125) in a representative cohort of older individuals age 77 years and older in New Haven, Connecticut were interviewed. Confidence in different driving situations, self-rating of driving ability, and driving patterns were assessed during these in-person interviews. A history of crashes, moving violations and being stopped by police was available for approximately the past 6 years. Concurrent driving performance was assessed in a subsample (n = 35). Analyses focused on determining the relationship of confidence and self-rating of driving ability to: (1) each other; (2) driving patterns; (3) adverse driving events; and (4) driving performance. All participants rated themselves as being average or above average drivers compared to others their age, with the majority rating themselves as above average. Individuals who drove more miles and more frequently were more likely to rate themselves better drivers than same-age peers. Individuals who rated themselves as "much better" drivers than their peers tended to have higher confidence levels than those who rated themselves a "little bit better" or the "same" as other drivers. On-road driving performance and history of adverse events were not associated with self-ratings of driving ability. Confidence was associated with driving frequency and mileage, but not age or education. Although men were more likely to drive under risky conditions, for those conditions in which each drove, men and women were equally confident. No relationship was found between confidence and adverse driving events or driving performance. Understanding the relationship of confidence and self-rating of driving ability to driving patterns, adverse events and driving performance may provide additional insights into identifying older drivers at increased risk for problems and formulating intervention strategies to help lower risk.