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Brush up on your safe driving skills
By Melissa Erickson
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With plenty of experience under their belts, baby boomers have should sharp road smarts, but driving can be dangerous.
“More than 10,000 people were killed by the completely preventable crime of drunk driving last year,” said Fatima Ali, communications manager of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Let’s work together to lower that number, Ali said: “One great way is to designate a non-drinking driver if plans include alcohol. … To prevent these unnecessary tragedies, call non-drinking friends, taxis or rideshare services if drinking alcohol.”

Be left-lane courteous

The joy, freedom and control that cars offer make driving a big part of American culture, but that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to dawdle in the left lane.

Lane courtesy is a key principle to make driving safer, more pleasant and more efficient for everyone, said James C. Walker, executive director of the National Motorists
Association Foundation. Lane courtesy — also called lane discipline or keep-right-except-to-pass behavior — means slower traffic should keep to the right and yield to faster traffic.

Drivers who use lane courtesy will be generally safer and less stressed, Walker said. They will arrive sooner because they drive with the traffic flow instead of weaving in
and out of it. Most importantly, lane courtesy means less road rage, Walker said.

Lane courtesy is an old concept that evolved with the development of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s, but it faded in 1974 when the National Maximum Speed Law prohibited speed limits higher than 55 mph, Walker said. The law “saved only a tiny fraction of fuel during the Arab oil embargo,” and it took 21 years to get repealed, he said.

“Many states are finally enforcing keep-right-except-to-pass laws for reasons of both safety and travel efficiency,” Walker said.

For more tips

Looking to improve your driving skills? AARP and AAA offer refresher courses both online and in classroom: