Driving course designed for senior citizens

Posted at 9:19 AM, Dec 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-29 11:34:18-05

It's a fast-paced life on the roads in South Florida.  From aggressive drivers to traffic jams, everyone has to be on alert.

"They're more aggressive, and I find that they honk their horn if you're going too slowly," said driver Barbara Katz.

Katz just moved to Palm Beach County seven months ago from New Jersey. Keeping up with the flow of traffic has been a challenge.

"Learning the rules of the road in Florida is a little different than Jersey. We do jug handles when we have to turn and here it's doing a U-turn," added Katz.

That's why she is taking a driving course hosted by the Safety Council of Palm Beach County designed for senior citizens.  Not only does it give drivers an insurance discount, but it teaches them the rules of the road in South Florida.

"How do we have to adjust now that I'm 50, 60 , 70, 80, 90 years old?  We kind of look at the process of driving with that in mind," said course instructor Peter Patane.

Patane goes through every aspect of aging and driving, including reaction time, taking medications and dealing with changes in eyesight.

"We're here. There's more of us all the time. We're living longer.  We're also dealing with a lot of issues that are age related," added Patane.

The number of senior citizen drivers increased by 34 percent from 1999 to 2012. The Centers for Disease

Control reports that the rate of fatal crashes increases noticeably from ages 70 to 74 and is highest among drivers 85 and older.

Katz is too young to be classified in those stats.

"All I say to people, when they ask me my age, is do you keep a secret? And they say yes, and I say well so can I," laughed Katz.

But she's staying alert and getting ready to welcome the snowbirds on South Florida roads.

"I know the streets are getting more crowded. I just have to leave earlier," said Katz.

There are courses scheduled several times each month at locations around Palm Beach County in the morning, afternoons and evenings. 

The course is about six hours and cost $12. 

The state of Florida mandates an insurance discount for licensed drivers 55 or older who complete the state-approved driver improvement course.

Click here to learn how to register for the mature driver course.

Did you know Florida law requires you to get a discount on your auto insurance for three years when you take Coaching...

Posted by Safety Council of Palm Beach County, Inc. on Monday, November 2, 2015