The Importance of Smart Driving


It's common to hear some drivers say, "I have been driving for 50 years and have never had an accident. I do not need to take a refresher driving course." But our bodies, abilities and skills change as we age. These changes may include our ability to see, hear, and react quickly. And all of these have an influence on our ability to drive.

For these reasons, a Smart Driver course, like the one offered by the AARP, can be a useful refresher on the rules of the road, as well as a reminder of useful strategies to stay safe.

Smart driver courses often include these helpful topics:

  • How to adapt to personal changes, including changes to vision, hearing and reaction time
  • Simple safety strategies, including how to maintain a safe space between you and the car in front of you, and how to tell which cars have right of way
  • Plans for the future, including driving shorter distances and planning rides with friends, relatives or on a bus or a train
  • How medication can affect your ability to drive, including interactions between medications, over the counter drugs and herbal supplements
  • Keep your driving knowledge and skills current, including learning about new safety technology in cars and changes to state and national laws
  • Strategies to help reduce your chances of being involved in a crash, including making a safe left turn, negotiating four-way intersections and taking caution when merging with traffic
  • When driving may no longer be safe and ways to explore other means of transportation

Smart driver courses use research-based strategies and are designed for the state where you live. Roads, intersections and situations that participants will recognize and understand are included in each course, as are local driving regulations. Class participants are asked to bring their questions and concerns to the class so that everyone can learn from them. And the best part? There are no tests!

Sign up for a smart driver course through our HealthSource class series. The next class is May 10.

You can also learn more about Fletcher Allen's Driver Rehabilitation services.

Baird Morgan is an instructor for the Smart Driver program at the AARP of Vermont.