Many people believe that driving school and traffic school are the same exact thing. While they do sound somewhat similar, there are actually some key differences between them. Driving school takes new drivers and molds them, making sure they’re ready to hit the road. They’ll learn safety procedures and rules to ensure their safety. Sometimes, driving schools will also go over defensive driving material, but this isn’t always the case.
Traffic school, on the other hand, is for older drivers looking for a refresher. Drivers can be court-ordered to take a defensive driving course for various traffic offenses. Other times, drivers will be given the option of taking a traffic school course in lieu of receiving points on their driving record. This minimizes the impact of their violation on their insurance premiums.
What Driving School Includes
Driving school contains the basics that you need to get out on the road. This means that there’s a huge variety of material that the course has to cover. You’ll go over all the relevant state driving rules, and the general rules of the road.
Beyond the classroom, you’ll also get in the car for some on-the-road instruction. This includes activities such as:
- Learning how to parallel park.
- Practicing k-turns (also known as three point turns).
- Getting used to driving in reverse.
Often, these courses take place over a week or two. Some high schools even offer them over an entire semester. If you’re in a hurry, there are some courses that run for a day or two. These are quite intense, since they consolidate a great deal of material into a small period of time.
Defensive driving courses, however, are more focused. Rather than general rules and procedures, they focus on specific ways to deal with aggressive, dangerous situations. You’ll learn how to do things like:
- Stop in an emergency.
- Properly manage a skid.
- Navigate busy highways or high-traffic streets.
- Avoid road rage, and deal with other drivers who are raging.
Finally, many driving schools will also include practice driving exams. This is a great accompaniment to the experience you’ll gain in the driver’s seat. The practice exam focuses on making safety, but gives you the tools to pass your actual driver’s test. This hands-on experience will give you the confidence you need to pass your written and practical driver’s test.
What Traffic School Includes
Unlike driving school, traffic school is only for experienced drivers. If a driver receives a traffic violation, they’ll be given the option to attend a traffic school. In return, the court will dismiss their traffic ticket. In other cases, the driver will be mandated by the court to attend traffic school.
While driving school goes over the basics of safe driving, traffic school goes a little more in-depth. It serves of a handy reminder of how to drive safely and prevent dangerous situations. The discussions from driving school are usually included as a quick refresher.
The biggest benefit of attending traffic school is that you can have your traffic ticket dismissed, or violation points removed from your record. To receive the dismissal, you have to attend a court hearing and agree to complete a traffic school course. Upon satisfactory completion of a state-approved course, the ticket is removed from your record.
Having your ticket removed will save you money in two ways. First, you won’t have to pay the fine associated with the ticket. Secondly, you’ll avoid expensive insurance rate hikes. Even a single traffic incident or ticket can significantly increase your premium. Even if you don’t have a ticket, many insurance companies will give you a discount for completing the course!
Today, most states allow traffic school courses to be completed online. Taking a course at Traffic School Online usually takes only 6 to 8 hours. You can take it right in the convenience of your own home, one section at a time!
- Explore our article on free driving lessons for low-income families in New York to discover available programs and opportunities for accessible driver education.