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Smart Drivers course at The Meeting Place Aug. 15

Drivers age 50 and older are encouraged to sharpen their driving skills by attending the AARP Smart Drivers course scheduled for Aug. 15 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (lunch is available for a small fee) at The Meeting Place Senior Center on Skyuka Road in Columbus.

“This course is for anybody who wants to stay safe on the roads as long as possible and hopefully prevent being in a crash,” said Mike Martin, course instructor.

The four-hour class is offered periodically, offering numerous tips for coping with inevitable changes in perception and reaction time, as well as increased hazards on the roads with faster cars and busy roads.

“You’ll be a smarter driver after just four hours,” Pam Doty, The Meeting Place director, said.

Participants can expect to review the rules of the road, tips on dealing with aggressive drivers and general safety tips such as how to make left turns into heavy traffic and how often to clean your head and tail lights to maintain maximum visibility.

“Most of us learned to drive a number of years ago,” said Martin. “We have the driving habits we’ve acquired over the years. We may think we’re just as good behind the wheel as we were 30, 40 or more years ago, but that’s unlikely. And we are sharing the road with new generations of drivers, some, who, unfortunately, are texting or talking on a cell phone and not paying full attention.”

North Carolina State Trooper Gene Williamson said he wishes every older driver in the mountains would take one of these AARP courses.

“It would make our jobs so much easier; the last thing I want to do is go to a wreck and see an older person who is hurt, or whose car is now banged up,” said Williamson.

To register for the course, call The Meeting Place at 828-894-0001.

The course does not involve any behind the wheel time and there are no tests. Those completing the class will receive a certificate of attendance, which can be used to apply for a discount on automobile insurance; several (though not all) North Carolina companies give Smart Driver graduates a break.

– article submitted by Pam Doty