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Rufty-Holmes recognized for 25 years support of AARP Driver Safety

SALISBURY — AARP North Carolina recently recognized Rufty-Holmes Senior Center for its long-term support of the AARP Driver Safety Program. A plaque in recognition of more than 25 years of support was presented to Rufty-Holmes Executive Director Rick Eldridge.

The program is the nation’s first and largest classroom driver refresher course designed for motorists age 50 and older, although younger motorists may also take the course. It is designed to address the specific needs of older adult motorists through a four-hour classroom course.

The course covers the effects of aging and medications on driving, basic driving rules and regulations, license renewal, traffic hazards, adverse road conditions, energy savings and accident prevention measures and provides a review of driving skills and techniques. Class participants receive a workbook with strategies and tips to help seniors drive safer and longer.

Research indicates that older drivers are involved in no more accidents than their middle-aged counterparts when the record is based on actual miles driven. The physical changes of aging create difficulties for many older drivers when yielding the right-of-way, backing up, turning, changing lanes, entering and exiting expressways.

However, research also indicates that older people can improve their driving skills through additional training, exercise, paying attention and practice, enabling them to maintain their driving licenses longer while driving safer. This is the ultimate goal of the AARP Driver Safety Program.

Some insurance companies offer a discounted premium for older adults who successfully complete the course. People of all ages are eligible to participate. Classes are normally held at the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center twice a year. The next course will be offered in the fall.

AARP Driver Safety Program instructor Jerry Shelby, in presenting the award, said, “As a host of the AARP Driver Safety Program, you can take pride in the service you provide to the community. Everyone benefits with the improved driving skills of our older citizens. Improved skills also extend the driving time of those seniors who want to continue their independence.”

The Salisbury-Rowan chapter of AARP meets the first Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. at Rufty-Holmes. The chapter offers members a variety of community service, education, advocacy, leadership and fellowship opportunities.

Dues are $3 per year. Members do not have to be retired, and visitors are always welcome. Contact Rufty-Holmes at 704-216-7714.

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