17:00 PM

Older Men Struggle More Than Women as Driving Decreases

New AAA report finds genders handle reductions in driving differently

A new AAA study reveals older men find it harder than women to seek out advice and guidance as they cut back on driving. The report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that men - over 65 who reduced driving in the last year - report lower levels of social support when it comes to advice, suggestions and information about issues they may be facing.

"Older men and women who have reduced their driving report similar levels of care and emotional support from friends and family, but older male drivers find it harder to seek out advice and guidance," said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

About the Study

  • The findings are part of the AAA LongROAD (Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers) study, a multi-year research program to better understand and meet the safety and mobility needs of older drivers in the United States.
  • Of the study's 2,990 participants, 1 in 5 older drivers drove less in the past year.
  • More women (57%) than men (43%) say they cut back on driving.

Past AAA Foundation research has found that many older adults limit their driving, or self-regulate, to daytime, short trips, or familiar locations due to health issues and it can lead to an overall decline in life satisfaction. AAA recommends families with older loved ones plan ahead together, especially when it comes to important decisions like limiting driving and putting reliable informational resources in place.

"Cutting back on driving may threaten older drivers' sense of independence and complicate their ability to run errands, keep medical appointments, or visit friends," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Just like planning for financial and healthcare needs in retirement, there are many benefits to planning ahead for the day when it makes sense to limit or stop driving."

While self-regulation may seem like a good solution to allow older drivers to continue driving safely, some changes can create unintended consequences on the roadway. For example, using side streets to avoid the freeway can increase an older drivers' risk of a crash by increasing the distance traveled and his/her exposure on the road.

AAA Tips

AAA suggests older drivers and their families speak with their physicians in addition to exploring alternative forms of transportation and recognize that these options may complement their driving.

Transportation alternatives vary from city to city, so AAA suggests the following:

  • Carpooling – Sharing a ride with friends or neighbors is one way for older adults who limit driving.
  • Public Transportation – When available, city buses, light rail and subway systems are great ways to get around. By planning ahead, an older driver can build up a comfort level with public transportation services to prepare for a time when he or she may have to limit or stop driving.
  • Local Transportation Services – If the cost of a taxi or difficulty walking to a bus stop is an obstacle to using public transit, an older adult could benefit from using low-cost, community-based informal transportation services called supplemental transportation programs.
  • Ridesharing – If the older adult has a smartphone, they can download a rideshare app to help with local transportation.

Initiating a conversation about safe driving with an older driver, especially a parent, is challenging for most people. While there is no simple or easy way to address the subject, AAA is here to help. Visit seniordriving.aaa.com for some important tips.

About LongROAD

Recognizing that lifestyle changes, and innovative technologies and medical advancements will have a significant impact on the driving experiences of the baby boomer generation, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety launched a ground-breaking, multi-year research program to more fully understand and meet the safety and mobility needs of older drivers in the United States. The AAA LongROAD (Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers) study is one of the largest and most comprehensive databases available on senior drivers incorporating 2,990 participants being followed for five years. It will support in-depth studies of senior driving and mobility to better understand risks and develop effective countermeasures.

The research was performed at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health with support from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, banking, financial services, and travel offerings to over 13.5 million members across 13 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.