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Bender once avoided a serious accident because he remembered the three-second rule: Stay at least three seconds behind the car ahead. "It gave me enough time to swerve into the median," he said.

A volunteer instructor for 26 years, Bender, 90, has taught about 4,000 drivers.

In 2010 he was given the AARP Illinois Andrus Award for Community Service (PDF).

Last year, about 13,000 Illinois drivers took the course. Online courses are available in both English and Spanish.

Sterling said more volunteer instructors are needed, particularly in Illinois' rural areas. Volunteer candidates must take the class, complete an eight-hour training session and teach three practice sessions under the direction of experienced instructors.

To locate a classroom course near you, find an online course or to volunteer, visit the AARP Driver Safety website or call1-888-227-7669 toll-free.

Jane Adler is a writer living in Wilmette, Ill.

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