About Defensive Driving Course
Defensive Driving is a term coined in 1960s (the explosion of the automobile era) by the National Safety Council. It's a term that defines a series of common sense driving techniques that, if followed, will help reduce the risk of automobile crashes by anticipating basic driving scenarios. As logic goes, even if you're a seasoned professional driver, you're still at risk due to factors outside of your control. Actions of other drivers contribute to many traffic crashes. Defensive driving course teaches you to anticipate emergencies and actions of other drivers.
What does Defensive Driving Mean?The main thing to remember about defensive driving is that you must always PREDICT and ANTICIPATE what drivers and other street users (pedestrians, bike riders etc…) may do and what will you do to avoid it. You're constantly looking ahead, asking yourself WHAT IF? What if the driver ahead of me slams on the brakes? What if that parked car opens a door? What if someone cuts in front of me? What if someone runs a red light? You get the picture.
Remember that you're sharing the road with millions of drivers (over 200 million as of last count). To be a safe driver you must work to communicate with other drivers and road users. Most of this wisdom is really simple; use your signals, make sure your brake lights are working, don't drive in other vehicles' blind spots, try to maintain an eye contact with other drivers, etc.
Be a Pessimist
When driving, the glass is always half empty. Don't assume that the other motorist will do the right thing. In other words, it's one case where its okay to assume that the other driver is an idiot who doesn't know what he/she is doing (just don't yell it out the window).
To summarize, as a defensive driver you:
- Scan the road ahead and around you.
- Plan for Emergencies.
- Ask yourself: "What If?"
- Plan an escape route.
- Make sure that other drivers see you.
- Avoid distractions, like cell phones.
While knowing the traffic laws in your state is critical, defensive driving goes beyond knowledge of those laws to make you a better driver. Defensive driving is a strategy that better allows drivers to anticipate the variety of problems that may be encountered while on the road.
A defensive driving course teaches students to become more aware of their surroundings and circumstances. It will also teach them safe and practical maneuvers to take in avoiding accidents. In short, defensive driving is the smart way to drive to keep the driver, passengers and others users of the road safer.
Why You Should Consider a Defensive Driving Course
Beyond making you a more knowledgeable, safer driver, there are other benefits to completing a defensive driving course. Depending on the state you live in, benefits can include:
- Elimination of points after getting certain traffic tickets
- Minimize the effect of a ticket on your auto insurance rates
- Make you eligible for auto insurance rates discounts
You should contact your insurance company and Department of Motor Vehicles to find out how a defensive driving course can help in your specific circumstances. It is important to recognize that becoming a safer driver is the biggest benefit for you and your passengers.
Where Can I Take a Defensive Driving Course?
Laws vary by state, but most states now allow you to take defensive driving courses online. These are convenient on many levels. You can take them at your convenience almost anywhere and they can be completed at your pace. Defensive driving courses may also be taken by viewing a video. There are however, a few states that require defensive driving classes to be taken in person.
Lengths of courses also vary by state and range from four to eight hours.
What Will I Learn in a Defensive Driving Course?
The curriculum for defensive driving courses is determined by individual states. There are some common themes throughout the courses however. Your defensive driving course will likely include time spent of the following topics:
- Traffic Crashes – In 2012, over 34,000 people were killed on the nation’s highway. Young drivers in particular are at risk. In fatal accidents involving teens, speed, right-of-way issues and improper turns cause 70% of the deaths. Teen drivers are more than twice as likely to get traffic citations than drivers in other age groups. Defensive driving courses help students understand the magnitude of the problem and the importance of defensive driving tactics to avoid them.
- Mental Factors – Driving with the right state of mind can be very important in improving your defensive driving skills. Driving under stress can lead to aggressive driving and road rage. Defensive driving courses will point out the significance of the right frame of mind when operating a motor vehicle.
- Use of Drugs and Alcohol – According to the Center for Disease Control, there were 1.4 million arrests for DUI in 2010. That same year, 10,228 people were killed in accidents involving an impaired driver. The human and economic costs associated with impaired driving is enormous. Defensive driving courses typically include time spent on DUI laws and education. Courses explore blood-alcohol levels and the ramifications of getting a DUI.
- What Happens in an Auto Accident – Car crashes involve more than one vehicle hitting another. They can involve vehicles hitting stationary objects and can cause multiple crashes. There are also secondary collisions that occur in vehicles when passengers hit windshields or drivers impact steering wheels. There are also accidents that occur because of a previous accident, by drivers who aren’t paying sufficient attention. Defensive driving courses will help students better understand the dynamics involved in a traffic accident and help them become better prepared to avoid them.
- How to Avoid Accidents – One of the most significant parts of a defensive driving course is teaching students the skills needed to avoid accidents. These skills include scanning the roadways in anticipation of potential problems, driving with assured clear distances and passing safely. Students will also learn about right-of-way, what to do in a vehicle emergency, crossing railroad tracks and much more. By becoming, and staying aware of your surroundings, drivers can become dramatically safer.
- The Role Of Safety Equipment – Defensive driving courses stress the importance of using safety harnesses and proper use of safety seats for children. They explore the significance of airbags and other safety equipment included in today’s vehicles.
- Distracted Driving – More and more defensive driving courses are adding elements that address the distracted driving problem in this country. Distracted driving includes talking on a cellphone and texting while driving, but is also includes eating, drinking, smoking and other activities that can take your mind of the road. It will also address the laws in your state pertaining to distracted driving.
- Traffic Laws – Your defensive driving course will also include a segment on traffic laws in your particular state. This too, is a critical component of your defensive driving course in that to successfully complete the course; you will likely need to pass an exam on these laws. Passage of the exam in certain states will allow you eliminate a traffic citation.
The benefits to successfully completing traffic school and a defensive driving class can far outweigh the cost, time and effort it takes to enroll. In the case of Improv Driving School, taking an online defensive driving course can even be entertaining. Consider enrolling today.