In order to develop a driver-car interface that adapts the presentation of messages generated by in-vehicle information systems to driver workload, two experiments investigated potential determinants of driver visual and mental workload as indicated by performance on two secondary tasks. Experiment 1 suggested that road situation is a major determinant of visual and mental workload of the driver and that the processing resources of older drivers are somewhat more limited than those of younger and middle-aged drivers. Familiarity with the area of driving (when guided) and time of day (associated with traffic density) showed no secondary task effects. Experiment 2 showed that the categorization of road situations, proposed in Experiment 1, could underlie adaptation of visually loading messages to the workload incurred by driving. This was not found with respect to mentally loading messages.