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Older Adults and Driving Reduction: Is the Gender Gap Narrowing?
The safe mobility of older female drivers is receiving more attention from road safety researchers. Previous studies have shown that older female drivers are over-represented in serious injury crashes compared to older men and younger women. Older adults adopt self-regulatory driving behaviours and there is a consistent evidence that self-regulation patterns and behaviours differ by gender. The majority of previous studies have examined the process of self-regulation in terms of avoidance of difficult driving situations. On the other hand, the process of driving reduction has received less attention. It is still unclear if the factors that predict driving reduction among older drivers differ by gender. _x000D_
This study investigated driving reduction in a diverse sample of 230 male and female older drivers from Queensland. The study sought to determine whether differences existed between male and female older drivers in regard to driving patterns, and to identify factors that were predictive of driving reduction in female versus male older drivers. Overall, females were more likely to avoid challenging situations (e.g. in the rain, parallel parking, freeways, and long distance driving) when compared to males. Interestingly, female drivers were less likely to reduce their driving compared to male drivers in our sample. This study also found significant differences between predictors of driving reduction among male and female older drivers. There is need for longitudinal research on the process of driving reduction to determine whether the planning process for driving cessation differs between females and males. _x000D_