Program helps senior drivers spruce up their driving skills

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More than 11,000 drivers aged 79 and over were involved in crashes in Texas last year - so we're offering resources for senior citizen drivers. (KTRK)

We're continuing our week of resources for senior citizen drivers. The AARP offers the nation's first and largest driver refresher course for seniors. The smart driver course updates driving knowledge and skills, and it's offered right here in the Houston area.

Lisa Lum started teacher driver safety for the AARP nearly twenty years ago.

"They used to call me the kid then. They don't call me that anymore," Lum jokes.

It's a course she's passionate about teaching because she knows first-hand how important being able to drive safely is, after she realized her husband needed help.

"He said, 'You know, baby, I can't tell the red lights from the green lights anymore.' That was my moment of 'uhhhh,'" Lum recalls.

Lum took the keys and promised her husband she'd always be there to give him a ride.

"I said, 'I'll never whine or complain about having to do that.'"

This experience made her driven to help others through her teaching at the AARP.

"We discuss driving and problems that are happening with all seniors. If your vision isn't good, you really need to turn off the radio in your car and use your ears more, and you really need to wear your glasses at all times," Lum explains.

If you're hearing isn't sufficient, Lum said, "Then, you can look around more. Use their vision more to compensate."

Most of our reflexes suffer as we age, so she adds, "We don't follow as closely as we used to because it takes us longer to put our foot on the brake or foot on the gas. So, we give ourselves more room to make those maneuvers."

The class also covers new car technology and how to choose what features and gadgets are necessary for you. Finally, Lum says discussing the use of medications and how they hinder driving performance is an important discussion.

"And how to make an intelligent decision when you are no longer safe to be driving," adds Lum.

The AARP Smart Driver course is a four-hour class. You can find out more here: http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/transportation/driver_safety/
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