Report numberRA-2016-001
TitleDriving simulator-based and cognitive training courses with the aim to keep older drivers safe drivers
AuthorsAriane Cuenen
Ellen Jongen
Tom Brijs
Kris Brijs
Stijn Daniels
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Traffic Safety 2012-2015
Number of pages42
Document languageDutch
Partner(s)Universiteit Hasselt
Work packageWP4: Development of road safety measures

The number of older drivers is increasing due to the aging of the population. Since mobility is important for quality of life, it is necessary to investigate how to keep older drivers safe drivers for as long as possible. This report illustrates the results of three training programs that were aimed at improving driving ability of older drivers. These three training programs consisted of two cognitive trainings and one driving simulator based training. Cognitive trainings were related to working memory and inhibition, since these abilities are important for safe driving and decrease with (normal) aging. Participants had a mean age of 70 years and were randomly assigned to an experimental group or a control group. The effect on driving ability was investigated in a driving simulator. In order to obtain a detailed view about training effects, specific driving measures like speed, standard deviation of lateral position and giving way were investigated. Driving ability was investigated both before and immediately after the training session. Results indicated that cognitive training specifically had an effect on cognitive abilities, with only limited effects on driving ability. Driving simulator based training had several effects on specific measures of driving ability. Driving multiple times in the simulator improved several specific driving measures. However, driving-related feedback was necessary to improve some other specific driving measures (e.g., giving right of way). Although further research is necessary, it can be concluded that a context-relevant training is promising to improve abilities of older people. Hence, if the goal is to improve driving ability, a training targeting driving ability directly (e.g., with a driving simulator based training) can be recommended above an indirect training of driving ability (e.g., with a cognitive training).  

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