Driver route-following and safety errors in early Alzheimer disease

E. Y. Uc, Matthew Rizzo, S. W. Anderson, Q. Shi, J. D. Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess navigation and safety errors during a route-following task in drivers with Alzheimer disease (AD). Design/Methods: Thirty-two subjects with probable AD (by National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders criteria) of mild severity and 136 neurologically normal older adults were tested on a battery of visual and cognitive tests of abilities that are critical to safe automobile driving. Each driver also performed a route-finding task administered on the road in an instrumented vehicle. Main outcome variables were number of 1) incorrect turns; 2) times lost; and 3) at-fault safety errors. Results: The drivers with mild AD made significantly more incorrect turns, got lost more often, and made more at-fault safety errors than control subjects, although their basic vehicular control abilities were normal. The navigational and safety errors were predicted using scores on standardized tests sensitive to visual and cognitive decline in early AD. Conclusions: Drivers with Alzheimer disease made more errors than neurologically normal drivers on a route-following task that placed demands on driver memory, attention, and perception. The demands of following route directions probably increased the cognitive load during driving, which might explain the higher number of safety errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)832-837
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 14 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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