The purpose of this study was to examine the association between visual and cognitive impairment in older drivers and their avoidance of potentially challenging driving situations. A group of 257 older drivers participated in assessments of visual sensory function, eye health and cognitive function including the useful field of view test, and completed a structured questionnaire on driving exposure and how frequently they avoided challenging driving situations. Results replicated earlier studies showing that many older drivers limit their exposure to driving situations which are generally believed to be more difficult (e.g. rain, night, heavy traffic, rush hour). Furthermore, older drivers with objectively determined visual and/or attentional impairments reported more avoidance than those free of impairments; those with the most impairment reported avoiding more types of situations than other less impaired or non-impaired drivers. Older drivers with a history of at-fault crashes in the prior five years reported more avoidance than those who had crash-free records. Future research should evaluate the potentially beneficial role of self-regulation in enhancing older driver safety, particularly in those older drivers with visual and attentional processing impairments who have elevated crash risk. © 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.