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Abstract

Older individuals often believe they can drive better than their contemporaries. This belief is an example of downward social-comparisons; they can be self-enhancing tools that lead to beneficial outcomes. As predicted, we found that drivers who engaged in downward social-comparisons were significantly less likely to have adverse driving events over time, after controlling for relevant factors (p = .02). This effect was particularly strong among women, who tend to experience more negative driving stereotypes (p = .01). The study was based on 897 interviews of 117 elder drivers, aged 70–89 years, over 2 years. Our findings suggest that interventions to reduce adverse driving events among elders could benefit from including a psychological component.