- Car Safety & Safe Driving
When to Take a Defensive Driving Course
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.
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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.)
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.
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.
Defensive Driving Courses
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).