By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In an effort to help senior drivers stay on the road longer, and safer, AARP has retooled its Smart Driver course.
A lot has happened automotively in ten years, according to AARP VP Julie Lee, and that’s how long it had been since the course got a facelift. Technology may seem overwhelming or distracting now. A national trend, installing traffic circles, is much the opposite in the Philadelphia area. Lee has taken the course several times herself.
“It’s actually a lot of fun,” she says. “There’s no test with our course at all. It is purely a refresher. One of the things I like to say is I know people who are very religious in maintaining their vehicles, but we don’t do such a good job of maintaining our own driving skills.”
The course is supposed to be for the 50+ set, but Lee says any driver can benefit. It take eight hours, over one or two days, and contains not only updated information about cars and roads, but localized content. Lee says the point is not to make seniors feel old, but help them stay young.
“We want people to stay behind the wheel as long as possible, as long as they’re being safe,” she says. “The fact is, people actually hang up the keys sooner than they need to, so a course like ours helps people maintain the driving ability for much longer.”
Lee says people can spend more time and money keeping their vehicle in tip-top shape and too little on driving skills.
There’s a modest cost for taking the course, but Lee says completion may qualify you for an insurance discount.