KEEPING YOUR DRIVING SKILLS UP: LOCAL RESOURCES FOR AGING DRIVERS
Some drivers age 50+ have never looked back since they got their first driver's licenses, but even the most experienced drivers can benefit from brushing up on their driving skills. Did you know that for a small fee, you can take a 4-8-hour refresher Driver Safety course through AARP or with AAA? And if you take such a refresher course, your automobile insurance may provide you with a discount on your premium. (Consult your agent for details.)
By taking a driver safety course you'll learn the current rules of the road, defensive driving techniques, and how to operate your vehicle more safely in today's increasingly challenging driving environment. You'll learn how you can manage and accommodate common age-related changes in vision, hearing and reaction time.
1. The AARP Driver Safety course
Founded in 1979, AARP Driver Safety has helped millions of drivers stay safe on the roads. The AARP Driver Safety course is available in classroom and online settings, and is taught by trained volunteers. AARP membership is not required to take the course and there are no tests to pass. Although the course is geared to drivers age 50 and older, the course is open to people of all ages.
The classroom course costs $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members.The cost for the online course is $15.95 for AARP members and $19.95 for non-members.You must pre-register for a class.
For locations and dates, visit www.aarp.org/driving24
Course times, dates and locations will be listed along with a phone number to call to register. Or call toll-free: 888-AARP-NOW(888-227-7669).
To register for an onlinecourse, visit aarpdriversafety.org.
2. The AmericanAutomobile Association (AAA)
AAA offers older drivers a number of resources, including a Web site devoted to seniors and driving at: http://seniordriving.aaa.com/
a. AAA Mature Operator courses are designed to meet the information needs and interests of drivers over 55 years of age. Classroom courses are taught by AAA-certified instructors. As with AARP courses, drivers who successfully complete the driver improvement program also might be eligible to receive insurance premium discounts. Learn more about both classroom and online courses at: http://seniordriving.aaa.com/maintain-mobility-independence/driver-improvement-courses-seniors
b. Interactive Driving Evaluation
Interested in knowing how visual, mental and physical conditions may affect your safety as a driver? AAA Roadwise Review is a confidential self-screening program that features a series of computer-based exercises which can be completed in 30 to 45 minutes,and help you identify steps to reduce risk in eight key areas:
- Leg Strength & General Mobility
- Head and Neck Flexibility
- High-Contrast Visual Acuity
- Low-Contrast Visual Acuity
- Working Memory
- Visualizing Missing Information
- Visual Information Processing Speed
- Visual Search
Enables you to scan the drivingenvironment and recognize traffic signs, signals, navigational landmarks andhazards.
Once you complete the evaluation, you will receive feedback on each area, along with suggestions to keep you safe behind the wheel. It’s recommended that you take the evaluation yearly, to help identify any changes in ability.
AAA Roadwise Review is available online at no cost at: http://seniordriving.aaa.com/evaluate-your-driving-ability/interactive-driving-evaluation or you can contact your local AAA club for information on how to receive a CD-ROM version: http://www.car-fit.org/
c. CarFit is an educational program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles"fit" them. The CarFit program also provides information and materials on community-specific resources that could enhance their safety as drivers, and/or increase their mobility in the community.
At a CarFit event, a team of trained technicians and/or health professionals work with each participant to ensure they "fit" their vehicle properly for maximum comfort and safety. The Car Fit event takes about 30 minutes from the time you drive in until the time you leave.
d. Check out AAA’s additional resources for seniors at: