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When to Take a Defensive Driving Course

Updated on December 31, 2012
Front end destruction to a Saturn automobile - defensive driving can help you avoid having accidents like this one
Front end destruction to a Saturn automobile - defensive driving can help you avoid having accidents like this one | Source

Defensive driving is a method of “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of conditions and the actions of others.” It focuses on more than just the simple rules of the road; it is meant to help prepare you for problems and issues that might arise while you’re driving, and teaches you how to handle those problems and issues without making the situation worse, whether it’s road rage, an accident, or worse. The first defensive driving courses were offered in the 1960s.

Take the following quiz to see if you might benefit from a defensive driving course.

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Depending on the state you’re living in, you may save up to $50 a month on your insurance costs just for having a certificate from a defensive driving course. But it’s not just money you’ll save – you may save your life or the lives of others. If you’re more familiar with how to drive defensively, it may reduce your risks of getting into accidents. Why take the risk of hurting yourself and your loved ones – or even strangers – if you don’t have to? The emotional toll of a serious auto accident can be high.

Cleaning Up Your Driving Record

Taking a defensive driving course can reduce the number of points on your license for violations like speeding, running red lights, and having accidents. In some states, you can even opt to take a defensive driving course in lieu of getting a ticket. While the ticket is issued to you, taking (and passing) the defensive driving course in a set amount of time can dismiss the ticket, making is as if the ticket never existed. (In many cases, another caveat on ticket dismissal is that the driver cannot get another one within 6 months or a year after completing the course.)

Being Young

Young drivers are often aggressive or poor drivers because they lack experience and may have had bad role models for learning to drive. Enrolling a teenager in defensive driving can help them learn skills they might not have picked up in classroom lessons or the minimum number of hours required to get a license.

Reducing Road Rage

If you take a good course on defensive driving, you may find that driving is a less stressful and more peaceful experience. If you’ve struggled with road rage, knowing tips and tricks, like how to properly enter and exit a highway or how to avoid other drivers who cut you off, can help you react and respond appropriately instead of with anger.

Driving Better

Most importantly, you will improve your driving skills! While having a little more money in your pocket and a little less worry about your record is great, being a better driver really shows. You’ll feel more confident behind the wheel, and you’ll have a new stable of safety strategies to help avoid issues that may arise while driving.

And Then There Were Four - Educational Training Film on Defensive Driving

What You’ll Learn

Most defensive driving courses will cover information on crashes (statistics, avoidance and prevention techniques, and education), psychological factors of driving (road rage, emotional distress, stress, fatigue), human factors (driving under the influence/distracted driving), proper use of safety equipment in the car, and local/state traffic laws.

Where to Take Classes

You can often take classes online, but there are other options, depending on the state where you live. Some libraries will carry video lessons that can be done at home as well, and there are often comedy clubs or restaurants that offer lessons. The requirements vary by state, but the classes will generally take anywhere from four to eight hours of your time, and if they are in person, they may be a full day, split over two days, or even split over more than a week (such as two Saturday morning or afternoon classes for those that can’t make evening or daytime classes).


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    • Running Young profile image

      Lei Abaluyan 5 years ago from Philippines

      I also wrote a hub about driving and it's all about winter driving. information written here as laid properly and I hope after people reading it. they could at least consider defensive driving course.

    • KatSanger profile image

      Katherine Sanger 5 years ago from Texas

      I agree that sometimes speeding can be necessary - especially down here in Texas where they lowered the speed limit back down. People tend to act as if it was never lowered, and you were to do the "new" speed limit, you'd be rear-ended! I also put in a little extra space in bad weather. If I don't know the area and it's dark, I toss in a few extra seconds, too.

    • HoneyBB profile image

      Helen Laxner 5 years ago from Illinois

      The information you have provided here will save lives and hopefully will convince people that taking a Defensive Driving Course could well be worth their time and money. I think I probably failed your quiz because I usually leave more time as long as it's safe to do so in between the car in front of me and me and I also speed sometimes because I believe there are times when it is safer to go with the flow of traffic as long as you don't have to get too carried away with speed.