Positively 50+: Refreshing your driving skills, learning new ways to handle Utah’s often difficult traffic

May 27, 2022, 12:15 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:28 pm

MILLCREEK, Utah — The rules of the road change all the time, as does the technology automakers stuff in our cars. Even our senses and reflexes are not immune from change as we pass the half-century mark.

Driving for Diane Hinman has changed a lot since she first hit the road over six decades ago.

“There wasn’t as much traffic. The cars were much simpler,” she said.

Though Hinman has had a lifetime of driving experience, she has come to AARP’s Smart Driver Course to learn more. It is designed to refresh the skills of drivers aged 50 and older, and to bring them up to speed on the latest technologies and techniques.

“We don’t say take the course because you’re a bad driver,” said Eric Wollesen, AARP’s driver safety coordinator for Utah. “We say take the course because you can be a better driver.”

AARP State Driver Safety Coordinator Eric Wollesen explains some of the new safety technology used in modern cars.

Wollesen said while it is not easy for some drivers to hear, the fact is, our reflexes slow down as we age, and our eyes just do not work the same they did when we were relatively new drivers.

“When you go from 20 years old to 40, it takes 40 times more light to see like you did at 20,” he explained.

Offsetting those inescapable changes is just one of the course’s wide and varied topics. The list of others include bike lanes, cell phone rules, roundabouts, weather conditions, using the latest safety features, and how 10-and-2 has become obsolete. Hold the wheel at 9-and-3 instead.

“The newer cars have all power steering, and so you don’t need to be up at 10-and-2 use that leverage. You don’t need to turn the wheel as much,” Wollesen said. “Hands can be here (9-and-3) and hit all the buttons (on the steering wheel) and they can be out of the way if the airbag comes out.”

AARP Smart Driver instructor Richard Raddatz shows why it’s important for driver to grip the wheel at 9-and-3, as opposed to the old school 10-and-2 position.

But AARP’s Smart Driver course is not just about the technical aspects of driving. Drivers like Diane also pick up strategies on how to handle their medications, keeping physically active for flexibility and response, and how to handle those difficult traffic situations we see every day in Utah.

“It’s not a contest,” Wollesen said. “It’s good driving, safe driving, being aware, being able to process what’s happening.”

There is a financial incentive, too. Drivers who take the course and have a good driving record will see their insurance premiums drop. They are taught two or three times each week in Northern Utah, or you can take it online.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Positively 50+

Ayanna Likens

Moab woman receives award for helping build affordable housing

Home and rent prices continue to rise across Utah, and in the Moab, it's become a crisis. But one woman is trying to fix that.
2 months ago
In the last two elections women over 50 made up 30% of the overall voter turnout. (AARP)...
Ayanna Likens

Women voters over 50 are a crucial voting bloc in the upcoming election

A new survey from AARP revealed that women voters over 50 are a crucial part of the election turnout.
4 months ago
Ayanna Likens

New bill helps seniors with the rise in property taxes

The rise in property taxes is affecting seniors’ that are on a fixed income, but local lawmakers created a bill to help combat it.
4 months ago
The Jeffs enjoyed traveling the world. Now, their trips are closer to home. (Ken Fall/KSL TV)...
Ken Fall

Brain health: When memory issues should become cause for concern

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. While subtle changes in our memory can be a normal sign of aging, some forgetfulness may signal it’s time to visit a doctor. Here’s how to tell the difference.
5 months ago
At 68, Utah woman Mary Crafts is at her healthiest – and she didn't start her healthy eating jour...
Shara Park & Madison Swenson, KSL TV

Utah woman encourages older adults to cook healthy

By following a few simple tips, older Utahns can learn to cook and eat more nutritiously.
7 months ago
Amanda Lambert started planning early in her career for retirement and has found it’s really payi...
Heather Simonsen, KSL TV

Women trail men in retirement savings, experts say

As more women break barriers in the workplace, there is still one area they fall far behind: saving for retirement. An expert explains how to bridge the gap.
9 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Positively 50+: Refreshing your driving skills, learning new ways to handle Utah’s often difficult traffic