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Reasons to Take a Defensive Driving Course

A driving instructor standing next to a coupe car in a traffic course to illustrate reasons to take a defensive-driving course.

Should I Take a Defensive Driving Course?

The answer is yes, you should take a defensive driving course if you want to save money and be a better driver. We all know that car insurance companies reward good behavior. When we were first learning to drive, many of us attended driving school, not only because in many cases it is required, but also because we knew it’d better prepare us for the written and driving exam. 

Auto insurance companies agree that those who have attended these classes may be at less risk of hurting themselves and others while behind the wheel, because they have been properly trained. Similarly, a defensive driving course teaches you not only the basics of safe driving, but educates you on the consequences of dangerous driving. These courses further improve your skills as a driver to better anticipate common collision mistakes and make more well-informed decisions, thus reducing the risk of injury or possibly even an accident. 

What are the Benefits of Taking a Defensive Driving Course?

When you take a defensive driving course after a first-time traffic violation, it may reduce the points on your driver’s license and could also erase the offense from your record so that your auto insurance costs will not go up. These benefits vary from state to state. 

Are There Online Defensive Driving Courses?

Some defensive driving courses are available online for those who find it hard to go to a physical location. Others can be attended in-person. The average length of the course is four hours, but it can go as long as six or eight hours. They usually involve some sort of a test to ensure that you retained some of the material that was covered during the course. 

The courses are designed to: 

  • encourage drivers to be more aware of the dangers of driving and also the consequences of bad decisions and unsafe driving habits
  • explore the emotional, financial, and psychological trauma and costs of collisions to prevent reckless and risky driving behaviors. 
  • teach methods of keeping a positive attitude behind the wheel so that you can avoid unnecessary stress, distractions, and road rage. 

Will the Course Teach Me Anything New?

Probably. Although there are circumstances and factors that are out of the control of the driver, the courses try to focus on what can be prevented, or what red flags the driver should look out for in order to reduce the risk of any danger. 

Among the controllable variables that contribute to 38% of all fatal car crashes is alcohol or substance abuse. 

This course includes goes over the legal state limits for alcohol, and the impairing effect it has on a driver’s motor skills, reactions, judgment, and senses. They also go over safety equipment in your vehicle, which simply serves to protect and decrease the risk of injury or death in the event of a collision.  

Not only do they emphasize the wearing your seat belt each time you drive, but also encouraging your passengers to do the same, and also going over other common safety features, such as air bags, child safety seats and headrests, and their proper usage. The two most common and simple ways to increase the chance of safe driving is to obey the law: don’t drink and drive and remember to use your seat belt. If you decide to break the law, each state has varying consequences, however, you will not only have to pay costly fees and possibly cause injury, you will face long-term increased costs in the form of increased auto insurance costs. 

Can I Get a Car Insurance Discount for a Defensive Driving Course?

Very possibly. If you decide to take a defensive driving course voluntarily, you will want to report it to your car insurance company to see if you qualify for a good driver or training discount. If nothing else, it may save you money and stress in the long run by helping you to recognize the signs of danger and avoid an accident.  

Most of the time, for experienced drivers, the course serves a refresher and reminder. However, anyone can benefit from taking this course. And if you take a defensive driving course as a result of a moving or traffic violation, then it can help to prevent another incident and also has the added benefit of possibly erasing the mark off your record and not affecting your auto insurance costs. 

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