All drivers, any age can benefit from the AARP Driver Safety Program. It is billed as,"The nation's first and largest classroom refresher for motorists age 50 and older." Yes, it is geared for the 50 and older group, but any age is welcome, plus you don't have to be an AARP member to take the driver safety course.
You can choose from an online course or an actual classroom setting (I took this). There is a small fee for either. For classroom AARP Driver Safety Course members pay $12.00/ non-members pay $14.00. The online course for members is $15.95/ non-members pay $19.95. That is really inexpensive for an excellent 8 hour refresher course where active participation and knowledge of current driving rules reduce chances of crashing. Also, an added bonus of an insurance rate deduction makes it well worth the time. Check with your agent to see if you are eligible.
A few interesting statistics gleamed from the course were new to me. The highest ranking crash causes in drivers 55 and over are; driver distraction (something my daughter tells me is her fear for me!), right-of-way, lane changes, and left turns. Evidently these are performed improperly, and most commonly at intersections. Also aging slows reaction time three tenths of a second which adds up to higher possibilities of crashing. One suggestion is not to drive when emotionally upset or sick. That sounds like common sense, but how many of us drive when emotionally upset? I bet lots of us do.
Many drivers use medications. Along with medication taking tips the course workbook has a great chart to use for individuals. It is a medication action sheet with four categories. They are:
- medication or supplement
- dosage and how often
- physician and pharmacist
- potential effects on driving.
I'm not on meds, but that doesn't mean that a handy chart like this wouldn't be of great value for a loved one who is on meds. My written notes on this page say, stick this in the fridge and ambulance crews need it. If nothing else, that in itself is a great idea!
Many safety strategies are reviewed with the benefits listed too. I really liked the blind spot information. No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, it will have blind spots, every vehicle has them. Phew, that's a relief, it's not just my vehicle. It's extremely important not to ride in another driver's blind spots - pass them. Compensate for your own by turning and glancing over either shoulder. Sometimes this means practicing neck and shoulder exercises to increase flexibility, but it's worth it. Exercises are laid out very simply in the workbook.
This course helps us to know ourselves better. Aging does change vision, hearing, and reaction time. We can realize that driving is a "full-time job" obliging us to be in good condition as well as our vehicles. We can develop better skills like knowing our state rules for stopping behind a school bus (in Colorado it must be at least 20 feet). Know the difference between aggressive driving and road rage, and how to avoid it. Most of all, empower yourself, and become a safer driver.
For local course information, call 1-888-227-7669 (toll free).