aarp defensive driving online course

Taking an online aarp defensive driving course can also be a good way to block out time in what can otherwise come to feel like an extremely busy schedule. The beauty of it is that you can fit it into your schedule, and it won’t consume any more of your day than you want it to.

Refreshing your driving skills could reduce your auto insurance costs.*Take the AARP Smart DriverTM online course to see how much you could save.

Limited Time Member DiscountMembers: Get Over 20% Off Your Course!$$REGISTER NOWMoney-Back Guarantee!**
(for members & non-members)Auto Insurance Discount

Completing our defensive driving course could save you money on your auto insurance.*Online & Self-Paced

Taking the online course is convenient and cost-effective. And you get 60 days to complete it!
Safer Driving

Our defensive driving course teaches evidence-based strategies to keep you safe behind the wheel.

Refresh your driving skills and you could save on auto insurance

When you take the AARP Smart Driver™ online course, you could be eligible for a multi-year discount on your auto insurance.* Plus safer driving can save you more than just money. The course teaches proven driving techniques to help keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.Additionally, you’ll learn:

  • Important facts about the effects of medication on driving.
  • How to reduce driver distractions.
  • How to maintain the proper following distance behind another car.
  • Proper use of safety belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes and new technology found in cars today.
  • Techniques for handling left turns, right-of-way, and roundabouts.
  • Age-related physical changes and how to adjust your driving to compensate.

Why Take the AARP Smart Driver Course?

The AARP Smart Driver course is the nation’s first refresher course specifically designed for drivers age 50 and older. In many states, drivers may benefit from a discount on their auto insurance premium upon completing the course. And you will learn something new along the way. In fact, an evaluation of the course found that 97% of participants changed at least one driving habit as a result of what they learned.Our Smart Driver online course will help you:

  • Receive a multi-year discount on your auto insurance.*
  • Refresh your driving skills and your knowledge of the rules — and hazards — of the road.
  • Reduce your chances of receiving a traffic violation or getting into an accident.
  • Learn at your own pace — you’ll have 60 days to complete the course!

Course highlights:

The AARP Smart Driver online course covers:

  • Research-based safe driving strategies.
  • Information on the effects of medication on driving.
  • Preventive measures to reduce driver distractions.
  • Proper use of safety belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, and new technology found in cars today.
  • Techniques for handling left turns, right-of-way, and roundabouts.
  • State-specific rules and regulations in 19 key areas, including construction zones, child safety seats, school buses, cellphone use and more.
  • Easy-to-follow format incorporating adult-learning principles.

Driver Safety Program: More Than Discounts

Driver Safety 2

Over the seven years that he has taught AARP Smart Driver courses, Peter Jensen has seen it many times: the transformation of a student who showed up at a spouse’s urging.

“They’ll sit for an hour or so with their arms crossed, maybe reading a comic book, but after a while, this person is leaning forward and looking eagerly for the next presentation,” said Jensen, 85, of Belmont, volunteer state coordinator for the AARP Driver Safety program.

“Why? Because we’re making sense,” he said. “No left turns makes sense. Not having an accident makes sense. We’re presenting factual, research-based material for the older driver.”

The Smart Driver course is designed to sharpen skills and safety awareness. In 2019, more than 16,500 Californians took the in-person class, but only 2,877 did so last year, due to the pandemic.

Now the eight-hour course is online and self-paced, and can be completed over 60 days. It costs $21.95 for AARP members and $27.95 for nonmembers.

Under state law, residents 55-plus who complete a recognized “mature driver improvement course” can qualify for reduced insurance premiums. Insurers determine the reduction, so check with your insurance agent. A four-hour refresher class every three years is needed to continue to receive the discount.

Jensen, a retired risk manager for a casualty insurance company, said the premium reduction—typically from 5 to 20 percent—is the biggest draw for the courses. But once students show up, they learn plenty. “About 75 percent of the people who walk out of our class tell us they’ve changed at least three things in their driving habits,” he said.

Dealing with aging

Class instructors offer ways to combat age-related changes in hearing, vision, flexibility and reaction time. Clean windshields, windows and taillights improve visibility. Limiting conversations reduces distractions. And avoiding busy highways makes up for slower reaction time.

Left turns are especially dangerous, Jensen observed. “That’s how so many accidents happen for seniors,” he said. “Our vision is diminished. And aging reduces the ability to judge distances of oncoming traffic.”

Before he retired from his high school teaching job, Tom McMahon, 68, of Roseville, commuted up to 85 miles a day.

The car’s primacy in California adds to the urgency that drivers periodically assess their skills.

“You get ingrained; you get bad habits,” said McMahon, who has taught Smart Driver courses since 2014. “People forget about the little things, like keeping their eyes moving.”

Statewide, the leading cause of fatal crashes by older drivers is impairment, Jensen said. Medication or hearing loss can be a factor.

AARP also offers other free Driver Safety workshops online:

CarFit helps drivers adapt to their vehicles to reduce the risk of injury from a crash.

We Need to Talk offers ways to gauge a loved one’s driving skills and to consider when it’s time to limit or stop driving.

Smart DriverTEK explains safety benefits of high-tech automotive features.

Using App-based Ridesharing Services describes options such as Uber and Lyft.

To take the online Smart Driver course, go to

Pamela Schmid is a writer based in Minnesota.

More on Driver Safety

Does Your Car Fit You? Driving Tip: Maximize Savings – AARPTOPICSSmart driver programAbout AARP CaliforniaContact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Please read below for frequently asked questions for the state of Alabama.


What is the cost of the course, and how do I pay?

The AARP Smart Driver™ online course is ${memberPrice} for AARP members and ${nonMemberPrice} for non-members. You may make your payment online using any major credit card through our secure server.

If I can’t finish the course or don’t wish to continue it, will I be able to receive a refund?

You are able to receive a refund if for any reason you do not complete the course or do not wish to continue it. You will have 60 days from the date of registration to request that a refund be credited back to your credit card account. Unfortunately, we are unable to issue refunds after 60 days and/or after the course completion certificate has been processed. To request a refund, contact Customer Service at 1-800-350-7025 or email [email protected]. All refunds will be issued within 30 days following receipt of a permissible request for cancellation.

Account Creation

What information do I need handy for registering?

You will need the following information when registering for this course:

  • AARP member number (required for AARP discount)
  • Driver’s license number (required for certificate of course completion)
  • Credit card account information

Why does AARP Driver Safety ask for my driver’s license number and date of birth when I register for the AARP Smart Driver course?

It is the national procedure of AARP Driver Safety to collect the driver’s license information and date of birth of each course participant. This information is required to guard against fraudulent use of the Certificates of Completion and to maintain the integrity of the program in the view of the insurance industry, state departments of motor vehicles, and state insurance commissions.

General Course

How long is this course? What if I cannot finish it in one sitting?

The AARP Smart Driver™ online course is six (6) hours in length. You may complete the course all in one sitting or you can choose to complete the course at your own pace, logging on and off at your convenience. The course will automatically keep track of your progress so that when you log back on, your course will resume from where you left off. You will have 60 days from the time of your registration to complete the course in order to receive a certificate.

Can I start the online version of the AARP Smart Driver course at one location and continue at another?

If you started the course at a computer in one location and want to continue at another, simply log in using your username and password. The online version of the AARP Smart Driver™ course is designed to be convenient. You may take the course at any time from any location on a computer with an Internet connection.

Is this online version of the AARP Smart Driver course narrated or just text?

The online version of the AARP Smart Driver™ course is professionally narrated. The course contains both videos and graphic illustrations of the concepts being taught.

Quizzes and Exams: Will those be recorded and graded? Can I fail the course?

While there are a number of quizzes contained in the course, they are not graded and will not prevent you from moving forward through the course. However, the quiz results are recorded and shown to you to ensure you are progressing and learning the material presented in the course. The main purpose of these quizzes is to help you feel comfortable understanding the information being presented.

There will also be an ungraded exam at the end of the course, which will also be recorded and summarized for you. Again, the purpose of the exam is to help you feel comfortable with the material. If you do not answer a certain number of questions correctly on this final exam, you may be required to retake the final exam until you have answered the required number of questions correctly. If you are having trouble and are being asked to retake the final exam more than twice, please contact our Customer Support staff at 1-800-350-7025 or [email protected] for assistance. Our priority is for all our participants to succeed!

Will I get an auto insurance discount for completing the course online?

Some states have a law that mandates that insurers must provide an automobile insurance discount for anyone completing an approved driver improvement course. Specific state insurance laws vary and individual states may place additional restrictions on eligibility for automobile insurance reductions or discounts. In some states, separate rules may apply to online driver improvement courses. Please consult your insurance agent for applicability in your state.

For AARP members with Hartford Insurance: AARP Auto Insurance from the Hartford recognizes the online course for an auto insurance discount in eligible states. Please contact your agent for details.

When will I receive my certificate?

Your Certificate of Completion will be immediately available for download in PDF format at the conclusion of the course. If you would like to receive a hard copy of your certificate in the mail, you may select your desired shipping method and pay the corresponding fee. (Standard U.S. Mail, FedEx 2Day, Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight.)

Is the Smart Driver™ course the same as the “55 Alive” course?

As rules of the road have changed over the years, so has this course. When AARP began this program in 1979, it was referred to as “55 Alive.” But, over time – and with the development of new content – we felt the name “Smart Driver” was more appropriate, so a change was made.


What happens if I get disconnected?

If you get disconnected from your Internet provider for any reason, simply reconnect and log back in to and start your course again. You can continue the course from where you left off.

What happens if I have problems while taking the course or the system malfunctions for any reason?

Our expertly trained Customer Support staff is ready to help you 7 days per week. You can contact our friendly representatives by phone or email, whichever works better for you.

Speak to a representative: 1-800-350-7025
Email: [email protected]

System requirements for taking the AARP Smart Driver online course


  • Edge, Firefox, and Google Chrome (The AARP Smart Driver online course is compatible with the current and previous version of each browser above.)

Operating System:

  • Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10
  • Mac OS X 10.9 or greater


  • Sound card
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Mouse or other pointing device
  • Screen resolution 1024×768
  • Broadband Internet connection (DSL, T1, cable modem, ISDN)

About the author

Study on Scholarship Today -- Check your eligibility for up to 100% scholarship.