AARP driving class not just for senior citizens

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -Plan a route so you make right turns only. It's one of the tips from the AARP safe driving class aimed at helping seniors drive longer and it's growing in popularity.

If you've been driving for years you probably don't think you need a safe driving class...but many seniors find the aarp safe driving class offers many rewards. For example they go over new changes in the law.  Senior Gerald Hansen took the class and learned a lot. "You are supposed to turn your lights on if your windshield wipers are going. That's state law."

Besides making any driver a safer driver, the program will often get you a discount on your car insurance. Hansen is pleased with money he's saving.  "The insurance company I have on my vehicle gave me a very nice discount when I pay my premiums and this year it's $135."

And most of the time it refreshes their memory on other issues. They use a video to more clearly demonstrate some tips.  A clip from the AARP video explains: "Don't hang out in the no zone-- along side of and behind trucks. Be careful when trucks are turning. Don't ever pass a truck and then slow down. And don't take a chance with trucks coming toward you while you're making a left turn."

Barbara and Jules Courville, who are in their seventies,  say what they learned could help them avoid a crash.  Barbara says when she first learned to drive she understood it was best to keep the eyes forward.  Now she's learned "to look around, be observant, and blind spots, to turn your head all the way and look." Jules, who is 77 and hopes to drive for years to come, says about the class, "It was good, this was my first time here."

The class is no longer just for seniors. Barbara McMmanus is the instructor. "Sometimes they don't judge as well as they get older or they don't see as well. But many times younger drivers are much more dangerous because they are in a big rush to get everywhere."

And the course may help you decide if you are at the point where you should consider giving up driving.

Again the class is available for drivers of all ages. To keep your insurance discount, you have to take it every three years. The next class is Thursday, May 20 in Sulphur. For more information call Barbara McManus at 433-8910.  Or check out AARP's web site.

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