Traffic statistics indicate that older adults overall are safe drivers with good driving records. However, medical conditions, certain medications and age-related physical changes can increase the risk of injury and crashes among older drivers. It is critically important that older drivers make driving safely a personal priority. AARP Driver Safety is committed to helping Americans 50 and older sustain mobility and safety as they age. 

AARP Driver Safety consists of several programs including our Smart Driver course, available in the classroom.

The course enables drivers to refresh their driving skills and understand how to adjust to age-related challenges. The course is usually presented to a group of 15 to 20 participants in a six-hour classroom format.

Although the course is geared toward drivers 50-plus, it can be taken by licensed drivers of all ages, and there are no tests. In most states and the District of Columbia, course participants may be eligible to receive a state-mandated, multi-year discount on their auto insurance premiums. Some insurance companies in many other states offer discounts at their own discretion. Participants should contact their insurance company or agent for more details.

The AARP Smart Driver Course covers defensive driving techniques and the normal changes in vision, hearing and reaction time associated with aging. The course also provides practical techniques for adjusting to these changes to ensure the driver’s own safety and that of others on the road.

During the course, participants learn about current rules of the road and how to operate their vehicles more safely in today’s increasingly challenging driving environment. Topics include:

• Maintaining proper following distance.

• Minimizing the effect of dangerous blind spots.

• Limiting driver distractions such as eating, smoking and cell phone use.

• Properly using safety belts, air bags and all car features.

• Effects of medications on driving.

• Maintaining physical flexibility.

• Monitoring the driving skills and capabilities of yourself and others.

An AARP course will take place Thursday at Pontotoc Technology Center. The class is certified and open to the public, and the cost is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. Class size is limited. To reserve a seat, call or text Becky McKenzie, adult coordinator, 601 W. 33rd, Ada, at 580-310-2267.

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