To estimate safety effects of compensatory changes in the driving behavior of older drivers (age 65+), their fatal accidents were compared with those of young and middle-aged drivers (26-40 years) in different situations. The starting point of the present study was that without compensation for age-bound functional deficits, more difficult conditions would also be more dangerous, but that successful compensation could reduce the increased risk. The results obtained support this conclusion. Relatively fewer accidents of older drivers occurred under difficult conditions than in the comparison group, i.e. the older drivers had fewer accidents at nighttime and under bad weather and road-surface conditions. Older drivers were also less often in a hurry, alcohol intoxicated, or distracted by nondriving activities than the drivers of the comparison group. The probability of being the legally responsible party was not related to these external and internal factors among older drivers, but was in the comparison group.