OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - About 20 senior citizens took advantage of an AARP-sponsored safe driving training seminar Monday at the Ocean Springs Library.
The four-hour course is designed to help seniors sharpen their driving skills. Several topics were discussed, including deteriorating physical abilities, the impact of prescription drugs on driving, vision and hearing loss, and tips on increasing reaction time.
"It's to have seniors driving safer, longer and have more confidence in themselves, and they will be better on the road," AARP instructor Gerrie Weldon explained.
While most of the seniors admitted their physical attributes have changed as they have aged, many do not realize how automobiles have changed dramatically in the past few years. Most newer cars have enhanced safety features, such as backup cameras, Bluetooth connectivity, and even blind spot indicators.
"We're facing a lot of changes in the automobiles that we're going to be driving," Weldon told the class. "So it's sort of getting seniors prepared for these changes that are going to take place."
"There's new stuff on your car that I have no idea about," George Purvines said. "I'm trying to learn new technology in driving cars."
George and Carolyn Purvines are taking the class together, and yes, money is important for Carolyn.
"He said this would reduce our insurance rates so I said okay. I'm all about saving money, plus I'm going to retire soon and we're going to be living on a budget," Carolyn Purvines said.
Most of the seniors will see a 10 percent decrease in their car insurance over the next three years by successfully completing the course. But that's not the only reason Mike Doster signed up for the class.
"I'm trying to learn what's new out there in terms of the rules and regulations. Get a little bit more confidence in terms of my driving ability and cut my insurance rate," Doster said.
The AARP hosts several of these programs each year. They are geared to the over 50 set, but anyone can take the class by paying a small fee.