Dear Editor of the Kern Valley Sun Newspaper:
I recently took the AARP Senior Safe Driving Course, and I want to share my experience with others. I’m an 84-year-old retired physician with a good driving record for over 70 years. I want to continue driving safely as long as possible. Gene Verbeet is the local AARP certified instructor, and he deserves a 5-star shout-out. He makes the course very rewarding and enjoyable. He gave us a wealth of information, punctuated with amazing stories and good humor.
I rarely miss any questions on my driver license renewal tests, but I was amazed at how much I learned about important issues like how to set my rear-view mirrors, the accident rates for people my age and older, and defensive driving techniques on Highway 178 in the Kern River Canyon.
Mr. Verbeet covered a wide range of health issues common in senior drivers and focused on self-assessment followed by teaching compensatory techniques. No one wants to be T-boned in an intersection due to undiagnosed loss of peripheral vision, for example.
We students in this AARP class took self-corrected tests on our driving skills and were then taught tips for improving our driving skills.
We learned about a variety of improvements in cars over the years and what is now available in new cars and in the future. We discussed road designs and got a heads-up on such things as dangerous intersections, etc.
At the end of the day, I wished I had taken this course years ago and realized that I wasn’t as good a driver as I thought I was. My wife came away with similar feelings, and we wished there were similar programs for all age groups and for beginning teenage drivers. After all, substance abuse and automobile collisions are the leading causes of deaths in those groups. We all must accept the fact that “automobile accidents” are really caused by driver errors 92 percent of the time.
Donald J. Morrison, MD
Above the Influence
Hi, my name is Christine Essepian, and I am currently a Certified Addiction Specialist registered with the State of California. Due to health issues, I had to leave my employment in June 2014 but never gave up hope to help people. So through my church, Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, I have been given the opportunity to start a group. The name of it is “Above the Influence.” If you are interested, please come and check it out, and hopefully together we can figure out the reasons why we turn our lives over to addictions. I have the heart, soul and willingness to keep reaching out and helping to heal our community. The meetings begin Wednesday, October 3 at 6:30 p.m. Place: 2741 Mt. View Rd. in the building behind the main church. Phone number: (760) 378-2901 for more information.
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