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Minnesota

Auto Premiums Cut for Older Drivers Who Attend Safety Class

Volunteer instructors needed

The 400 volunteer instructors in Minnesota include a national leader: Jacque "Jack" Block, 68, of Columbia Heights.

A retired telephone technician, Block has been teaching safety classes since 1989 and is one of only four AARP volunteers in the nation who have taught more than 10,000 participants.

At a recent four-hour refresher course, many of the 30 participants nodded when Block told them that the purpose of the class was to reinforce many of the driving techniques they already knew. An introductory film predicts: "Most of you will learn at least one new thing today."

Dorothy Rither, 82, of Spring Lake Park, a veteran of one of Block's previous classes, said that was true for her.

"One thing I learned the last time is that when I'm stopped and preparing to turn left, I shouldn't steer the car into the turn too early."

Three rights make a left

A few minutes later, she smiled in agreement when Block said that one of the hardest things for older drivers is safely executing a left turn in city driving.

He suggested that participants think about circling around the intersection by making a series of safer right turns.

"Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights do make a left," he said, prompting chuckles.

AARP members pay $12 to attend Driver Safety Program classes; nonmembers pay $14. To find a class near you, enter your ZIP code at aarp.org/findacourse.

Online classes in Spanish or English are $15.95 for AARP members, $19.95 for nonmembers. However, insurance premium discounts are not offered to Minnesotans who take the online course.

To volunteer to become a driver safety instructor, call toll-free 1-888-227-7669.

"It's an incredible program," Kimball said. "These are some of the most dedicated volunteers AARP has, and the service they are giving is literally saving lives."

You may also like: Your car should fit you. >>

David Hawley is a writer living in Edina, Minn.

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