It’s been many years since most Missouri residents got their driver’s license. Yet, the driving experience is significantly different from even a decade ago — with changing vehicles, changing technology, changing road rules and even changing roadways.

It’s been many years since most Missouri residents got their driver’s license. Yet, the driving experience is significantly different from even a decade ago — with changing vehicles, changing technology, changing road rules and even changing roadways.

Area residents can refresh their skills and have the opportunity to save money on their car insurance with the AARP Smart Driver course being offered at the RSVP Center, 711 Grand Ave. from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 23. In addition to the four-hour course, participants get a 124-page AARP Smart Driver Guidebook with many helpful suggestions, lists and references.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety Northeast Region is promoting the course by encouraging Missouri drivers to take the course at no charge. The first 20 registrants will have their course fee paid. This saves the participant up to $20, and the person may even receive a discount on car insurance, depending on their insurance carrier’s policies.

“Since 1979, AARP Driver Safety has helped over 16 million drivers stay safe, educated and confident behind the wheel. Every driver can benefit from a refresher,” said Kyle K. Rakow, vice president and national director of AARP Driver Safety.

The Smart Driver course curriculum was developed following a two-year research study conducted by Eastern Virginia Medical School and helps drivers stay current with driving laws and new technologies inside and outside of vehicles. Participants will also learn defensive driving skills, proven safety strategies and how to manage and accommodate common age-related changes in vision, hearing and reaction time.

There are no tests required to pass the course, and many participants may be eligible for a multi-year insurance discount after taking the course. Participants are encouraged to check with their insurance agent to see if they are eligible.

In Hannibal, the course is taught by volunteer instructor Robert McElligott, who lives 60 miles away. After taking the course online several years ago, he decided to become an instructor so people who prefer to take the classroom course with an instructor would have the opportunity to learn ways to be safer drivers and passengers.

“By using the simple strategies presented in the course, I have avoided crashes. Others have told me it helped them avoid crashes, too,” McElligott said. He has taught the Hannibal course for several years.

The course is open to drivers of all ages and costs $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. Participants can register by calling the RSVP Center at 573-221-3892. Participants should register by phone, then bring their driver’s licenses. Members should bring their AARP cards. 

For more general information about the AARP Driver Safety course, you can visit www.aarp.org/drive or call 1-888-227-7669.