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AARP Driver Safety Program Salutes Veterans

November 2, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa - AARP is honoring veterans this month by offering a free driver safety class designed to help people age 50 and older remain independent.

The class is being offered to veterans and their family members, regardless of whether they're AARP members.

Les Pence, an Army veteran and volunteer instructor for AARP, says many older drivers are less confident.

"They do have a problem when it comes to getting on interstates, getting off interstates, knowing what's going on and staying alert."

The four-hour classroom instruction helps with confidence, Pence says, and teaches people how to deal with new driving challenges such as navigating roundabouts. Older drivers, he adds, should take note of their own "red flags" - incidents such as minor accidents which indicate it might be time to give up driving.

"When you approach an intersection and you're confused and you come to a complete stop - and I know you've seen older people do this, because they're not sure which lane to get in and that type of thing."

Pence says the course provides techniques to deal with an older person's physical changes that can't help but affect his or her driving.

"Older people are unique in that they have vision problems, they have hearing problems, and they have to compensate for those things in order to drive."

Veterans can sign up for their free class this month by calling 1-800-AARP-NOW or logging onto aarp.org/drive.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA