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AARP Driver Safety Program Worth The Time

September 25, 2011 by Ellen Jarus Hanley

Think back to when you took your driver’s test. If you’re, say, age 50, that would have been 1977. If it was at this time of year, the radio was probably playing tribute to a recently-deceased Elvis as you cruised Route 66 in your dad’s Oldsmobile Cutlass, the most popular car of the day. I-691 was barely in the planning stages.
Consider how the driving experience has changed in those 30-plus years. Most highways and cars are faster and, theoretically, safer. There are a lot more vehicles and distractions on the road—not to mention more drivers of a wider range of age, ability, and experience. And if you think you know all the rules of the road just because you’ve been driving for a couple of decades, give the sample CT Driver Test a shot sometime (available online at You might be surprised by what you’ve forgotten, or never learned in the first place.
Since 1979, AARP has offered a Driver Safety Program targeting the 50-and-older set, but motorists of all ages can tune up their driving skills and knowledge with this very worthwhile course. Formerly a two-day, 8-hour program, the class has been condensed to a more convenient single 4-hour session. According to veteran instructor Joe Quinn, the same breadth of material (eight units) is covered in the shorter class because, for better or worse, less time is allocated for discussion. Quinn is particularly adept at keeping the pace lively and the students on topic.
Drivers age 60 and up are drawn to the program by the state-mandated auto insurance discount available to them upon completion. All participants receive a 120-page workbook full of useful information—and a pen! The cost is only $14 (members of AARP pay $12).
Morning sessions, (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) are offered at the Cheshire Senior Center, 240 Maple Ave, (203) 272-0047. Upcoming dates: Monday, Oct. 17 and Monday, Nov. 21.
Evening classes (5:30 to 9:30 p.m.) are offered through Cheshire Adult Ed at Cheshire High School, 525 South Main St., (203) 250-2450. Upcoming dates: Wednesday, Oct. 19 and Wednesday, Nov. 16.
For more local course information, call toll free: 1-888-227-7669. To find out more about the program, which is also now offered online, visit
During the month of November, AARP will offer their Driver Safety Class free of charge to veterans and their spouses. A valid military I.D., discharge papers (DD214), or American Legion or VFW card must be presented upon registration. Sign up early--space is limited and registrations are first-come, first-served.

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