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Driving course set to help seniors

April 12, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

The Austintown Senior Center is bringing a program to the area that will help senior drivers better manage Ohio's roadways. The first-ever AARP Driver Safety Program will be presented from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday with a light lunch provided.

"This is not a pass-fail test," said Kay Lavelle, the center's program director and a member of the Sheriff's Senior Services Unit. "This is a classroom only program that will help seniors by providing information some may not have known about, or others may have simply forgot."

Lavelle said a lot of seniors are continuing to drive into their eighties and some beyond that. She said many never took a driver education course and this is a chance to do so and reap the rewards.

"Some insurance companies will offer discounts to those taking the course," she said.

After the four hours, those enrolled will receive a certificate from the AARP.

As for the specifics of the course, Lavelle said it will involve a wide range of topics. She said it will cover how to handle a car in different situations including hydroplaning and freeway driving.

"Some seniors won't drive the freeway because they are fearful of the faster speeds," Lavelle said. "This course will show them how to enter a freeway and what rules they need to know."

It will also cover topics such as how to maintain a vehicle, keeping healthy, when to quit driving, and problems facing seniors such as excessive noise.

"Having an air conditioner turned up high may prevent someone from hearing a siren or horn," Lavelle said.

The program cost is $12 for Senior Center members and $14 for non-members. She said the class for Saturday is filling up, but the center will accept as many as they can. To register, call 330-953-1416 before 1 p.m. on Friday.

Lavelle said if the numbers are good, the center may schedule a second class. She said classes like these are hard to find in the area and the online classes aren't recognized by the insurance companies when it comes to getting a discount.



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