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The roughly 150 volunteer instructors also stress the importance of being aware of what other drivers on the road are doing and offer tips for staying safe in adverse conditions. If it's snowy or icy, for example, fall back more than three seconds from the vehicle ahead, Jones said.

And if your car starts to skid in inclement weather, the correct response is also the one that may seem counterintuitive: turn the wheel in the direction the rear of the car is skidding, then steer — gently — in the direction you want to go.

Another segment of the class presents participants with ways to assess their driving skills and determine whether it may be time to limit or stop driving altogether.

Warning signs include forgetting where you're headed while behind the wheel, Jones said, or thinking, "I have no idea where that car came from."

Having "the talk"

To help adult children of older drivers evaluate a parent's driving skills and have a discussion about options, AARP offers a free seminar called "We Need To Talk" to deal with this sensitive topic.

"When you speak to someone about giving up driving, you're really talking about giving up a certain amount of freedom and independence," Jones said.

AARP also hosts CarFit events that allow older drivers to make sure everything from their car's mirrors to the seat are properly adjusted. Participants drive their own vehicles to a CarFit session for a free 20-minute, one-on-one assessment of any adjustments that would help to make driving safer.

The AARP Driver Safety class costs $12 for members and $14 for nonmembers. The online course costs $15.95 for AARP members and $19.95 for nonmembers. To locate a class, enter a ZIP code or your address in the AARP Driver Safety course locator.

Greg Saitz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Madison, N.J.

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Older drivers are more fragile than their younger counterparts and are generally less able to withstand the impact from accidents.  Learn how properly fitting your car means your safety and that of others on the road is better protected.

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